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The Recycling Occupational Therapist: Hundreds of Simple Therapy Materials You Can Make [Spiral-bound]

Barbara Smith


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Book Description

November 1998 0761615342 978-0761615347 Spi
This valuable resource is written for therapists and teachers, vocational instructors, parents, and all environmentalists who wish to use their ingenuity to create useful therapy products from common objects. Author Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR, reasons that when she finds alternative uses for plastics and recycles them, not only does she avoid having to purchase the material, but she also reduces the amount of waste deposited in the environment.

Many a pattern can be carved from a plastic bottle. Cut a large detergent bottle to provide a surface for weaving. Snip off narrow bottle necks and use them as rings on a dowel. Cut off a hollow bottle handle, and you have something to fit a peg inside, or cut up that same bottle to make disks for stringing on a colorful length of discarded jump rope. For imaginary play, cut out space boats and weird helmets. The possibilities are endless!

The therapy products described in this book are made mostly-if not entirely-from recycled throwaways. These materials are easily collected, free, and versatile. The products can be used over and over again, and creating them can be fun and rewarding.

The products and activities are presented in three categories-fine-motor activities, gross-motor activities, and sensory activities. The activities are presented in a cookbook fashion, with a brief description of the material or activity, a list of needed materials, construction directions, and suggested uses and adaptations. The Appendixes provide six lists for guidance in planning of activities for clients. Terms used throughout the book are defined in the Glossary.

Although the activities in this 155-page manual are designed for adults with developmental disabilities, many are appropriate for clients of all ages, with or without developmental delays.


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Product Details

  • Spiral-bound: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Therapy Skill Builders; Spi edition (November 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761615342
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761615347
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 22.9 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 476 g

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  12 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great resource for the therapist on a budget! March 19 2000
By An occupational therapist - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Spiral-bound
I have found this book tremendously valuable for those times when I need some new ideas but don't have any extra room in my budget. It's inspiring and informative!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent resource for therapists and teachers! March 21 2012
By Rona Silverstein - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Spiral-bound
Have you ever wanted to seek out a mentor, one with many years of experience, and tap into her brain that is rich in ideas to assist you when working with your clients? I have! Upon reading Barbara Smith's book, The Recycling Occupational Therapist: Hundreds of Simple Therapy Materials You Can Make, I felt like I did just that.

Have you ever taken a course and be so inspired to try the new skill or activity that you want to try it on your entire caseload? I had the same reaction after reading this book!

This 154 page spiral bound book is a worthy addition to any therapist's library. Whether working with pediatrics or adults with developmental conditions, or any other physical or cognitive condition, this book would stimulate your thinking on using recycled materials to address activities to promote strength, coordination and grasp. I was truly impressed with the content and design of the book and impressed by the simplicity and creativity behind each activity.

Barbara Smith, MS, OTR, has worked over 25 years in a variety of settings, but her time in the early 1990s working with the developmentally challenged population served as her inspiration to write this book. According to Ms. Smith, often items for younger children are found readily in the marketplace, however, activities that are both age appropriate and developmentally appropriate are hard to find for older children and adults with developmental disabilities. An accomplished author and blogger, Barbara Smith has her own website (recyclingOT.com) and there you can see videos of the fabrication of some of her highly creative ideas. In addition, Barbara Smith has certifications in sensory integration and hippotherapy. The sensory component is addressed in the activities in this book. Performing tasks either sitting or standing, or alternate the position is recommended. I find this to be a great way to work on postural control while addressing coordination and strength.

Combining recycling with occupational therapy is a novel approach. To come across household items either tossed out or sent off to be recycled elsewhere, these plastics are easily utilized in many of the activities presented in this book. It saves us from buying these materials. So, for those of us environmentally aware, this book is already a hit!

To focus on the recycling element only would be a great oversight. The core value of this book is the rationale for each of the activities, the elements utilized in each activity, and the adaptations to be used, as needed. For a new therapist this would help tremendously. For the therapist with some experience, it is easy to retrieve the exact type of activity from your caseload, whether seeking a group or individual activity, as this book is set up to easily find what you seek.

The book itself is efficiently laid out in sections: the introduction of the concepts and elements in activity choice, fine motor activities, gross motor activities and sensory activities. Afterward, the appendixes feature: games for groups, gross motor group ideas, quiet activities for relaxation groups, pediatric creations, palmar grasping and pre-vocational activities. A glossary of terms is provided at the end of the book to describe terms that the reader may be unfamiliar with.

My two most favorite sections of the book are "Working in the Vertical" and "Lacing and Stenciling Jigs". Working with kids "standing tall" or "sitting tall" is what I say all day. The importance of the subtle postural strength and stability gained is the outcome and I was glad to see this addressed in Barbara Smith's book. I simply love the lacing and stenciling jigs as it incorporates the jug's handle attached to the shape. I have often seen children struggle to hold onto the design that they are lacing up. The handle incorporates a place for the non-dominant hand to hold onto making it clear, lacing is a two handed activity. Clever!

This book is a great addition to all departments for novice and experienced therapists, instructors and teachers. Barbara Smith's writing style, graphics and step by step instructions, make this a useful manual and a great resource. I recommend it!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kim March 1 2012
By Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Spiral-bound|Verified Purchase
Excellent resource for occupational therapists, teachers, and any professional working with kids. Some really awesome suggestions. Great for therapists in schools with limited to no budgets
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hundreds of affordable make-it-yourself therapy materials Feb. 24 2012
By Robin A. Murphree - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Spiral-bound
Barbara Smith's book is chock full of creative ideas for making your own therapeutic materials out of household items that would otherwise wind up in the garbage heap. I am very grateful to see that she included a section on prewriting activities as well as a section on materials for pre-vocational skills. There are even directions to make a sensory parachute! Many of these projects require the use of leather shears because of the recyclable plastic materials used. You can find them right on amazon.com or in craft supply stores. The conservationist in me is happy to have found a use for all those sturdy packaging materials that find their way in my home. Thank you Barbara!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Resource!! Dec 9 2011
By Susan K. Weiner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Spiral-bound
Barbara channeled her creativity and enthusiasm into designing, fabricating, and successfully using the therapeutic activities described in The Recycling Occupational Therapist. This book is a fabulous resource for therapists, teachers, and others working with children and adults with developmental disabilities.

I am very much looking forward to her words of wisdom in From Rattles to Writing. I have found all of Barbara's works to be full of wisdom, practical ideas, and compelling reads.

Susan K. Weiner, MHS, OTR/L
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