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  • Sharing Our Story: Grandpa Good’s Notes on Starting School Health…

    Sharing Our Story Carleton Good

    by Susan Rogers

    Since we are asking you to share your story for how or why you got into school nursing we thought we would share ours. Luckily my grandfather put it on paper and we’d like to share his story with you. Especially since we are celebrating 60 years.

    In order for parts of this story to make sense you will need a little background. The real beginning of our story goes back to the Good-Lite Company. My grandfather was Carleton Good and his father was Dr. Robert Good (founder of the Good-Lite Company). As an ear, nose and throat (ENT) surgeon and an ophthalmologist, Dr. Good had one of the best practices on the west side of Chicago.

    While working for his father, my grandfather had the vision to start a medical supply company focused on selling to schools. Here are some highlights from his memoir…

    “During the depression, yes I was making the Good-Lite headlights in the basement on Thatcher Avenue. V. Mueller of the American Hospital Supply had an exclusive. They used to order 24 lights at a time. When we made the Good-Lite eye chart, they were not interested in selling charts, so I cancelled the exclusive and opened up sales to all surgical dealers. I called on dealers and went to the surgical supply dealerships.

    I moved out of my basement in River Forest and moved into a four-car garage in Oak Park, in a residential area. After several years, I was forced to leave and rented one-half of a 25-foot store, in Forest Park on Madison Street, for $100 a month.

    My father lost a fortune in real estate. He purchased second mortgages on over 45 buildings, which he let go. I salvaged about five houses where I refinanced and offered fifty cents on the dollar for the first mortgages. I was getting about $35.00 a month rental. carleton_letter3

    In the early 40s, I was selling real estate for F.C. Pilgrim and Company. Mr. Pilgrim was never happy about me working two jobs, his office and Good-Lite. He said I should work selling real estate for Marquardt Reality. He knew I was working two jobs. My Good-Lite was across the street from his real estate office. I am now selling real estate on 100 percent commission.

    In the meantime, Good-Lite was doing better so I hired, part time, Bill Smith, a Maywood fireman, to help in the back room. The eye charts, however, were not selling. So, I told Bill one day, put on your best clothes and try to sell those charts to schools. They were not approved by the National Society for Prevention of Blindness. Bill took off in his old battered and rusty Ford station wagon and sold all the North Shore suburbs. When the nurses saw his old battered car, they felt sorry for him, and he said to them that he needed a sale. Later, nurses wanted scales, band-aids, etc. and this is where it all started. We put out a small catalog and started School Health Supply.”

  • Happy 100th Birthday Occupational Therapy!

    by Dr. Raymond Heipp

    Hero-AOTA2017Any birthday is a cause for celebration. But a 100th birthday, that is a cause for ceremonial jubilee! I was honored to attend the 100th birthday celebration for occupational therapy at the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Conference this past weekend in Philadelphia. It was an amazing time that highlighted the role occupational therapy has played in our lives during the past millennium.

    Occupational Therapy is often misunderstood by the public at large because it is lumped into categories which contain other types of therapy. By its very definition, occupational therapy is a therapy which “helps people across the lifespan participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities (occupations).” (AOTA Website)

    It is a therapy that is good for everyone and can assist in daily life practices. As a former school administrator, I am a big proponent of OT/Sensory breaks in classrooms every day. It is amazing how a brief exercise can increase focus and attention for all of our students, let alone those with differing abilities.

    I had the opportunity to speak at length to a highly-respected OT, Susan Wilkerson, or “Miss Sue” as her clients refer to her. We spoke about some of the changes that had occurred in OT over the years. These changes are partially due to a better understanding of the ways in which the human body processes sensory input, and partially due to a stronger level of respect being placed upon the field. OTs have a strong focus on making sure that individuals are able to handle the daily tasks which are encountered each day. During our discussion, I focused on the sensory side of things with her. This is an area which is often overlooked in our classrooms.

    “Miss Sue” has recently developed a series of kits that really bring occupational therapy to a new level of engagement in the classroom. Although all of them are extremely well-designed and thought out for the classroom, I wanted to focus on three that made an impression on me. All three of these kits would be items I would encourage my teachers to use, no matter the grade level or the course.

     

    BBBreaksI was amazed at the School Health Bilateral Brain Breaks Kit. This kit includes items that one would normally see out on a playground. For example, the “Skip-a-Long” is a toy placed on the ankle that encourages jumping and coordination. I remember seeing similar items on playgrounds as far back as the 1960s. And, here they are again playing an important role in getting both sides of the brain to “talk” to each other. I watched in awe as a few of the younger OTs and a couple of children visiting the conference immediately began using it and had fun.

    I did not try the Skip-a-Long for fear of a hospital visit, but I did try the “Bungee Jumper” from the same kit. It is basically a foam base and bungee version of a pogo stick. That concept, again, is something that has been around for a long time. Sue shared with me some of the research behind that particular item and one of the ways that this kit can be effective in the classroom. The research demonstrates that a student fighting with attention issues who uses the “Bungee Jumper” for five minutes will bring focus back to their minds for upwards of two hours! Those of us who have worked with students facing attention issues know that five minutes of focus is difficult, but two hours of focus is amazing!

     

    Yucky LunchAnother kit that fascinated me was the School Health Yucky Lunch Kit. The small plastic “Lunchbox” holds a piece of “Cheese” with “Mice” crawling through it, a “Banana” with “Banana slugs” in it, “Pasta,” and a few other “Creatures” that would make any adult cringe! But how it captures the attention of students! The activities include pushing the mice through the cheese and placing the slugs in various locations on the banana. While these activities may seem “gross,” they are actually “fine” when it comes to motor activities. (Okay, sorry to my OTs who got that lame joke!) Finger dexterity, motor planning, fine-motor skills, and varied sensory input are just some of the actions occurring while children play with this kit.

     

     

    Sensi-DesertThe last kit I want to speak of here is the School Health Sensi-Desert Kit. This kit was a hit with almost every OT who stopped by to visit Miss Sue. The specialized sand along with the lizards and snakes who “live” in the sand create a unique feel for those sticking their hands into it. The sand is not the kinetic sand or even real sand as some might expect. It is actually a specialized sand that feels more like soft earth or wet sand without as much coarseness. It was amazing to see so many of the therapists who did not want to stop playing in this sand as it gave positive sensory feedback. With all of these kits, School Health has included the EdTeam Action Guide™. This guide contains creative educational and therapy ideas in language, fine motor strength, coordination, gross motor movement, balance, early concepts, and more - all written by Miss Sue. The goal is to create an environment where anyone can use the kit to its greatest advantage with the students.

     

    Snug VestsThere were many more amazing insights taken away from this conference. However, those are for another blog! I do have to say that the prototype version of the new Snug Vest and some of the other items coming down the road from them are very impressive. Those of you who have attended my seminars know how much I appreciate what Lisa Fraser has done in the creation of the Snug Vest and how it is used in a multitude of ways.

    As I left the AOTA Conference and Philadelphia, I was definitely on sensory overload! It is good that so many of the tools there though allowed me to get my focus back quickly and drive safely. Happy Birthday, Occupational Therapy! May you continue to grow and expand your reach over the next 100 years!

    And thank you too to all of you OTs out there! You make a significant difference in our world and your work is appreciated!

    Raymond T. Heipp, Ph.D. is a 25+ year veteran of administrations and classrooms for students with differing abilities. He has designed many support programs for various schools and facilities. And, his expertise in assistive technology has enabled him to create updated approaches when working with students and educators. Dr. Heipp firmly believes that everyone, no matter what their ability, has a voice (or spirit) and deserves a chance to succeed. He suggests that we never doubt their abilities! 

  • ATIA 2017 Recap: Accessibility and ATIA

    by Dr. Raymond Heipp

    The annual Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference is an event that always reinvigorates my support for those with differing abilities. Each year I try to focus on areas in which I have the most questions. This year, my focus was accessibility. It was so wonderful to see old accessibility products that have been updated, and new products which cover areas that may not have been previously addressed.

    Although any blog post cannot do full justice to the impact of devices, let me do my best to give you a view of accessibility at ATIA this year!

    TAPitAccessibility and Established Products

    This year, I found several products that had been updated to bring accessibility to even more people.  The first of those items was the TAPit Interactive Platform. Already known for its ability to adjust and adapt, the manufacturers have taken it a step further. The device has always been able to differentiate between intended and that unintended touch.

    Now, it is a native multi-touch device that can still have that differentiated ability in two ways:

    1. It relies on conductive properties of the hand or conductive material to interact. Hence, anyone who leans on the screen using sleeves or gloves is not going to affect the touch at all.
    2. The firmware allows the device to recognize that stationary conductive touch as unintended touch – in just one second. This eliminates some of the delays that might have been encountered with the older version of the TAPit.

    In all, the changes to the TAPit permit much greater access for all students and adults!

    Candy CornI also spent time looking at access for those who need to use a switch, but may not have the capability to effectively use a standard type of switch. Those who know me know that I highly recommend proximity switches to create greater accessibility.

    There are really only two proximity switches which I feel comfortable recommending to individuals and those were both present at the show. First, the Candy Corn offers accessibility by proximity with the added benefit of visual and auditory cuing when the switch is activated.

     

    Movement Sensor SwitchThe second switch is another great one and it is the Movement Sensor Switch.  This switch has an amazing amount of flexibility and is able to activate upon detecting the slightest movement. I think that this device offers so much flexibility for personal accessibility!

     

     

     

    ultimateswitchAccessibility and Differentiated Approaches

    It was wonderful to meet and speak with the team from Enabling Devices.  Seth, Vincent, and Bill have such a strong knowledge of devices and how to make them work for each individual. My favorite device of theirs is listed above and is the Movement Sensor Switch. My next favorite device from them is the Ultimate Switch. This device can be mounted anywhere and needs limited force to be activated. I could have played with it all day.

    Ironically, as I was speaking with them, a woman stopped by to ask about it.  She had one of the original versions of it, which was still working, and wanted to see some of the updates to it. In listening to her, she described how the ease of interaction created heightened levels of access for her child. A switch should create access, not additional problems to be overcome. The Ultimate Switch offers a universal approach to creating accessibility with any device.

    Accessibility is Critical in 2017

    You are going to see that I am on an accessibility bandwagon in 2017! I will be travelling the country looking for how we are creating accessible environments for everyone. If you have an accessible environment you want to highlight or have questions as to how to make your location accessible, please contact me at rheipp@schoolhealth.com so that we can schedule a visit. Let’s make 2017 the Year of Accessibility for All!

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