Every week, I go to the Dollar Tree, and I gather a bunch of things to use in therapy. This week's find was large plastic jacks in neon colors. They are easier for people with limited hand skills to pick up. Children's bangle bracelets are another great find. At $1 for 12 of them in neon colors, they work great on the homemade range of motion arcs I designed out of hula hoops. A wonderful maintenance man built the wooden base for them. Punching balloons are another great thing. You can fill them with hand lotion or with beans or with rice, for different sensations as they are handled. You can also just fill them with air and bat them around, of course. You can also do some pretty amazing things with pool noodles and they are light enough that no one gets hurt. It's all about action and moving and engaging them on a physical level. Hand lotions encourage independent finger movement, flexion, extension, bilateral hand use. The ladies love scented lotion...such a small luxury. I have three bottles that allow them to make a choice, and they love that too.
Today, a director told me how glad she was that I worked in her facility. Touched, I stopped and said, "Aw! Thanks. That means a lot to hear." She looked at me and said, "You are one of ours now. We are a family." I walked away, and I was glad for that moment. Later another staff member and I were talking about a client. I said, "Well, you're my eyes and ears. You have a lot more experience with him than I do. I certainly trust your judgment on this." Later I walked past her room and I heard her say, "I LOVE her. She LISTENS!"
Today, I had a client rush up to hug me every time he saw me in the hall. Another client couldn't wait to show me something he was VERY excited about: he had been on an outing and bought himself a Pepsi safely put away in the refrigerator. He was thrilled with that small secret, and he couldn't wait to share it with me. I talked to a client and told her that I wanted to see her use her hands and fingers more and I showed her an activity I'd created with her in mind. I said, "Is it a deal? Will you use this?" She looked at me with her brilliant smile and the word came with great effort. "Deal!" A frustrated man listened as I talked to him. At the end of the session, he smiled and said, "You make me feel better when I come to OT."
All these things...it sounds like bragging, doesn't it? But it's not. It's just that I have always been a person to notice the little things, and right this moment, my life is so full of these little things that really, my cup runneth over.
I may not fit everywhere, but where I fits, I fits good.