April Brand Ambassador of the Month!
April is OT Month! We are so excited to learn a little more about our featured Brand Ambassador @OT_Room! Andrea gives us a peak into her life as a Pediatric Occupation Therapist! Read her interview below :)
Q: Tell us a little about yourself! What is the inspiration behind your Instagram page?
My name is Andrea, and I am a Pediatric Occupational Therapist. I work with preschool aged students to third grade in a public school setting. I recently got married to my college sweetheart at the end of last year. We even got married in the chapel on our college campus where we met! I always knew growing up I wanted to work with children, but did not want to be a teacher. That is how I found OT! I enjoy being outside, traveling, and making DIY crafts with my cricut! In the summer you can find me on the beach!
I originally started my Instagram account OT_Room as a way to keep track of the different crafts and activities that I was doing with my students to refer back to if I needed an idea for a different holiday. Eventually, I started building a following through my posts, and was able to connect with a variety of different accounts whether it was OT related, speech therapists, teachers, and more. Creating this Instagram account has helped me grow in my own skills and what I should try to incorporate into my own sessions. I also hope my posts do the same for other therapists or graduate students!
Q: It has been so great seeing the creativity in your posts, and how you use that creativity as an Occupational Therapist! We have learned so much from your page and would love to know, what inspired you to want to be a Brand Ambassador?
Thank you! Working with children, creativity is so important to always keep students engaged. I had been seeing Kwik Stix all over my Instagram by other therapists. They were always talking about how they were super easy to use, as well as, no mess! Paint can be so messy especially when working with Preschool aged children. It gets everywhere! You never know when the child will sneakily get some on their hand and just wipe it on their clothes. Now their clothes are messy, and you run into some unhappy parents! Therefore, when I saw everyone else talking about the products I knew I wanted to try it as well. I tried Kwik Stix once, and was hooked right away! Once I started using them, I knew I wanted to become a Brand Ambassador. I am truly using a product that I love and want to share it with other therapists and parents. It can be super hard to find reliable products through Instagram sometimes, but once you try Kwik Stix and the other products there is no turning back. I love the wide variety of products that I am able to use on all different surfaces or work to target different skills with my students.
Q: What is your favorite product of ours that you have tried?
As an OT Brand Ambassador, you have the unique perspective of using both sides of our products- therapy and crafting. Is there tips and tricks in particular you can share that has helped you incorporate occupational therapy and art together?
I have tried so many products now. I definitely enjoy the Wonder Stix as a unique alternative instead of just using regular crayons, but my favorite will always be the Kwik Stix. New and new colors keep coming out, and the simplicity of them does not lead to messes or spills whether it is in the therapy room or around the house. Magic Stix are great because they are triangular in shape, which helps assist students to develop a more mature grasp. As a therapist, it is important to always change up the routine. Using a simple marker or a crayon over and over again at the table would be so boring, and would not help the child learn. It is important to change up the products, toys, or even the medium to target any of a student's goals. My favorite is taping a big piece of paper to the wall, have my student sit on a therapy ball, and then use a Magic or Wonder Stix and color along the grooves of the wall. A fun way to change up a coloring task. Art is also a great way for students to express their own creativity and expression. It is important to sometimes allow the child to lead the art project or the session.
When completing a craft, there are so many components that actually go into it rather than just color, cut, and paste. During the sessions, the art is the end goal that I get to send home to the parent to highlight what their child completed, but so much happened during the individual session. Was the child able to look at a model and try to copy it? Did they cut along a line or a shape? Did they place their fingers correctly in the scissors? Did we need a lot of breaks? How much assistance or cues were needed? What kind of grasp did they use? Were they able to complete a two step sequence? Those are just some of the questions I ask myself as an OT during the session that leads to a beautiful craft!
Q: What is one of your favorite projects or activities you have created using our products? There are so many amazing and thoughtful ones you have posted, and we want to know which creation stands out to you!
I have so many favorites it is hard to choose just one! One of my favorites that I have done so far was using them to decorate eggs. It was so easy and fun to do, and the best part was there was no mess or spillage of water after. Decorating the eggs first was one step, and then once you wanted to eat them, taking those colorful egg shells to turn into another craft/activity in itself! Use the broken egg shells to create a basket or a flower by placing them on an glue outline. Two other favorites are during the fall, which is my favorite season to begin with. Similar to coloring eggs, The Kwik Stix are great to use to color leaves, then use the leaves as a stamp. Another top favorite is the mosaic spider web using a cardboard box! Creating an upcycle craft using the cardboard box, as well as, allowing the students to pick all of their own colors to create a unique spider web.
Q: What’s next for you? Any plans or activities planned for the Spring to share?
My next plan is just to continue with my Instagram account, and hope to be a resource for other therapists and new grads. I always try to be as helpful as I can, or just provide some ideas. Spring is a big month for activities and crafts! The weather is finally changing and the flowers are in full bloom. There are also so many holidays coming up that makes it a perfect time to bring out the Kwik Stix or Magic Stix!
Click on the images below to be brought to @OT_Room on Instagram, for full post details and to see how these crafts were put together!
Finger Print Fun!
Kwik Stix Web
Kwik Stix Rainbow