Sunday, February 26, 2012

Self-Care with Flair! - How did we get started?

Hello from Bhanu and Ginger- the authors of Self-Care with Flair!

We are two occupational therapists together with over 35+years of experience. To share all our strategies with our fellow therapists, parents and children that we work with, we wrote a book titled Self-Care with Flair!  It is a practical guide for teaching children (especially the children with ASD) self-care skills with pictures and rhymes.  

We got started about five years ago... it happened over lunch!  We were talking about all the things that we have been doing with our kids in therapy and suddenly realized that we needed to put our brains together to develop strategies for teaching self-care skills to all children with all disabilities.  We were working ( ...and we still are!) with many children  with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who were demonstrating difficulties with learning and generalizing simple self-care skills in all environments.  This was causing lots of frustration not only to the children but also to the caregivers.

When we started to put our brains in action, Ginger was teaching a child with cerebral palsy to tie shoelaces (one-handed, mind you!) while Bhanu was teaching a couple of children (with ASD) to brush their teeth and comb their hair!  Both with great success!  Parents and teachers were thrilled with the successes!  We needed to do more!  Requests for more started to come from all directions: "...can you teach Austin to blow his nose?"  "can you teach Lisa to put on her socks and shoes?"  Why not! We are after all the OTs, right?!
So we got started!  Between work, leisure and family commitments, we managed to meet a few times a week to pen our ideas... Soon we had ideas coming out of the wazoo!  Talking with parents and teachers, we realized that children with autism were struggling with mastering many dressing skills, toileting, using utensils when eating and learning simple grooming skills.  We needed to share what we already know.

How does the human brain of a child who is typically developing learn vs. a child who is diagnosed with autism?  This was our question.  We knew that we needed to figure this out for our strategies to be consistent.  Being OTs, we knew quite a bit about the sensory system.  Which sensory systems do we need to tap into to get our children with autism reach their best potential when learning self-care skills?

We spent five years to put together 50 essential self -care skills with 300+ illustrations to make learning, retention and genralization easy.  Check us out on
Our publisher is Therapro, Framingham, Mass. 

I will write more. I want you to meet our kids, parents and teachers who piloted all our work and guided us with "quality control."  You can also check our blog on blogspot and also our ever so slowly evolving facebook page!

We are presenting at the American Occupational Therapy National Conference in April 2012 on Self-Care with Flair!

More later.