I’ve been an OTR for 34 years and sometimes, I still find it hard to explain what OTs do.
My go to answer is that we use the occupations of everyday life as the tools, goals, and craft of our work. One of my favorite examples of this is the use of play with children. As children play, they are also developing all of the skills that they need for life on this planet. Play develops strength, coordinated movement, sensation, balance, cognition, hand eye coordination, social skills and so much more – and when I was a kid, I didn’t realize all of that. I thought I was just having fun!
Did you know that August 11, 2021 is “Global Kinetic Sand Day”? Did you know there was such a thing as “Global Kinetic Sand Day”? I did not know that until I was asked to write this blog. I have played with kinetic sand – or perhaps, since I am an executive, I should say that I used kinetic sand to release stress and improve my productivity in the workplace – but really… I was playing.
As I was playing – I mean relieving stress and improving productivity – I did not know that I was holding 98% ultra-fine grain sand mixed with 2% dimethicone (polydimethylsiloxane) coated with olive oil. If I had known that, I probably would have thrown it away because that sounds toxic! As it turns out, it’s not toxic and in fact, OT’s use it in therapy with pediatrics (AKA “Kids”). One blog that I read said you can start using kinetic sand with kids once they’re old enough that they no longer have a tendency to put things in their mouths (I wish I knew that before I used it to relieve stress and increase productivity – because it doesn’t taste good).
Kinetic sand can be used to develop fine motor skills, improve sensory processing, decrease tactile defensiveness, strengthen fingers, increasing dexterity, facilitate bilateral coordination, and anything else you can think of. I’m sure that kinetic sand can also be used with other age groups and can be a possible replacement for theraputty (from personal experience I will tell you that kinetic sand is a lot more fun than theraputty).
Happy Global Kinetic Sand Day everyone!