Centennial Vision

So proud to be an Occupational Therapist in 2016.

As we enter a new year, it is thrilling to see how our profession and colleagues are all striving to achieve the CENTENNIAL VISION. Consider this:

We envision that OT is a powerful…

More and more, OT services are recognized for their early and continued emphasis on function and participation, and its holistic appreciation of the mind-body-environmental-cultural-societal interconnectedness

widely recognized…

(See below.)


Yes, we are informed by the neurosciences, our knowledge of development, physiology, physics, behavior and psychology,


We are increasingly deferring to research to guide our clinical decisions.

and diverse workforce…

Look around you. OTs and OTAs today, in your schools, your local OT organizations and AOTA. Our therapists come from the broadest of backgrounds and bring unique insightful perspectives.

meeting society’s occupational needs.

Occupational needs? How does that apply to us therapists working within the educational system?

First, recognize that our society is the school system and our population is the children within them.

As far as their occupational needs, they are threefold. We are charged with helping children:

  1. Reach their educational potential
  2. Access their grade level curriculum
  3. Fully participate in the school environment

But there is that one clause, “widely recognized” that still eludes us. While consumers are increasingly pursuing Occupational Therapy services as the holistic solution to their complex needs, other providers are closing in on our domain.

Please, my friends. Do not be complacent and think that our Centennial Vision will realize itself. It is important that we protect this marvelous profession before others claim ownership of Activities of Daily Living, Leisure and related functional activities.

It is already happening.

Learn more from your state organization. Join your state organization. Attend AOTA’s national convention. We are a marvelous supportive and generous group. Let’s not become an irrelevant profession simply because someone else seized an opportunity to write into their licensure bill practice domains that have historically, empirically and conceptually been ours.

And let’s have a happy, healthy, productive, and widely recognized New Year, everyone.

Thicker is Better

There’s nothing to hold onto when you’re following a thin one.

Cutting line, that is.
So many children destroy small pictures when the stimulus boundary is only a thin black line. It seems almost inconceivable that the outline has any bearing to the placement of the scissor blades. You might as well have asked them to slice a strand of spaghetti in half… lengthwise.
When first instructing young children in cutting, thicken the stimulus line to the width of a broad tip marker or the equivalent of a 30 point line made on the computer. Then ask the children to cut right down the middle of the black line so that black is visible on both sides of the paper when it’s separated. You can even draw a pencil mark through the black line so children know what you mean.
Then, once they’ve actually bisected the paper, place the two sides next to each other. Point out whether black is showing the full length of the cut on one side, and then the other.
As children understand the goal of the activity, the width of the line can be thinned.
Pair this strategy with Lead-In/Lead-off Lines. Your children will be cutting more accurately in no time!

Cutting Progress

It’s all about the numbers.

Data is the newest 4-letter word.  We can’t escape the need to collect it, record it, share it, and compare it.  In fact, the demand to write progress notes is often so consuming that is feels like there is almost no time left for treatment.

Unless…. you employ fast, simple, reliable and measurable rubrics.

See the video below to learn how to use The Cutting Program Progress Monitoring Form.

Make a Plan!

Lead-in_Lead Off Lines horizontal, cuttingMake a Plan!

Maintaining corners when cutting simple straight-lined shapes is made more successful through the use of Lead-in/Lead-off lines.
Before students even pick up the scissors, ask them what their plan is. If it appears that the student has no idea which line to cut first nor how to get there, draw a line from the edge of the paper to the outside edge of the shape.
If Side A is to be cut first, then the therapist should suggest that the scissors start the task at Paper edge 1, as shown below. A child should always cut away from their body, aiming upward and outward, and starting at the bottom of the paper.
A line from one edge of the paper is then drawn all the way to the other. The adult points out that the child should place his scissors at the Lead-in line to begin. Then, while the child is underway, (all the while reminded to stay in the middle of the black line), ask the ever-important question, “What are you going to do when you get to the end of the line?”
The answer, which becomes a mantra revisited at the end of each cutting line is…
Keep on going!
The same strategy should be used for all sides of a shape. In no time at all, your students will be cutting squares and triangles with sharp and intact corners.

A Cutting Mess

Are your students lopping off heads when they try to cut a picture?

Bisecting a form in a misguided attempt to get from the paper edge to the stimulus line?

Shaving valuable inches from an image rather than staying true to the contours indicated by the cutting line?

Giving shag haircuts to the hapless parchment upon which they needed only to provide a straight line cut?

These are but a few of the many ways cutting can go awry.

In classrooms around the world, innocent line drawings are subjected to cruel dismemberment simply because the offending child didn’t have a plan. Aside from knowing that the lovely image in the middle of his paper was to be rendered into a trimmed version so it could be pasted onto his phonics, math or other equally worthy academic lesson, many children are clueless about the best way to make this happen. By the end of the session, the pictures are almost unrecognizable.

You want a quick remedy for these cutting ills? Grab a pencil and a broad tip marker. Prepare to learn the easiest ways to promote function never taught in school.