Welcome to the Southwest life podcast with your host, me Vicki DeLuzio where we will talk about things to boost your health, improve your relationships, find new things to do with your family and talk with business owners in the area and more. Thanks for being here and enjoy the show.
Speaker 1 00:00:28 Hey guys, thanks for joining us today. I have dr. Reema Naim who is an OT, as you might not know what an OT is. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today. And she’s also made an awesome book called the adventures of the sense of kids. So we’re also going to talk about that today. , so, uh, Dr. Naim can you, uh, give us a little bit about your background?
Yes. Hi, thank you for having me. so yeah, I am an doctor of occupational therapy and growing up, I was always really into the creative arts and I pretty much was mesmerized by like fantasy movies and anything that would take me out of reality. And, I came from a pretty conservative family, so it looked like filmmaking entertainment, no way you’re going to be a lawyer or a doctor. So I was kind of pushed into the education.
Speaker 1 00:01:23 My education was kind of pushed into the more medical kind of training. , I did my, all my education at USC., my undergrad in psych and then my OT and my doctorate in occupational therapy. , and in doing my final field works in, in my doctorate program, I found myself in a pediatric setting, working with children who had autism and sensory processing disorder and speaking with their caregivers and their families about sensory integration and realizing that they didn’t realize how inadequately processing that sensory information actually affects child development, child’s attention. , and a lot of things that a lot of parents were seeing, , in schools and, uh, concerns for parents. so this was my opportunity to kind of bridge my creative side with my medical background. So I created the sense of kids and, I use them in a fun and interactive way to educate children, parents there’s about the senses of which we have seven, which a lot of people don’t know.
Speaker 1 00:02:38 They, they, they focus on the five senses and not realizing the importance of the other two. So I go into describing these things in a fun and entertaining way. and then I opened my simultaneously around the same time I opened my clinic, OT studios in West Hollywood. , and the sense of kids kind of became the mascots and the face, my clinic. And we use the dolls in the clinic, , to kind of, whenever we’re incorporating tactile play, we’ll have Teresa who’s the tactile doll with us, or if from the swings or vestibular equipment, we’ll have Visy with us. so that the kids can also relate the senses to the little dolls. And now we were able to work on the children’s book series of which book one has just been released, and it’s focused on the tactile character Teresa and the tactile sense.
Speaker 2 00:03:29 So what you said that there are seven sentences. So can you go over that? Because, I mean, we’ve all been taught five sentences, so we got to have some relearning here.
Speaker 1 00:03:40 Yeah. So, , the vestibular system, which we call the sense of kids, we have a sense of kid called Visy and he represents that system. The vestibular system is movement imbalance. So pretty much,, the ability to know where your head is in space, right? When your eyes are closed, you’re on a roller coaster, you know, where your body, where your, where your head is in space, all the swinging activities, anything to where you need to kind of have your balance in motion. that is your vestibular sense. a lot of kids that you see sometimes that are unable to sit still on carpet time, they kind of want to roll around all the time and they don’t want to sit still. Sometimes they’re looked at as, Oh, you know, this child is not paying attention or this child is defiant, but no, this child is having an issue with his sensory system, with his vestibular system and working with an OT and coming into the clinic and potentially help that, then there’s the appropriate reception proprioception sense.
Speaker 1 00:04:39 , one of our sense of kids is called pro and he represents that system and that’s mostly like muscle activity. So contraction of muscles and, , you know, like when you do jumping jacks, then you know, where your hand and your body is, your, your, your joints are sending signals to your brain of what exactly is my body doing. So sometimes kids who have a hard time, , processing proprioceptive input, they can’t really grade force too well, or they,, have issues navigating certain new equipment and the jungle gym at school. so it manifests in those types of experiences. So understanding them and being aware that we have those senses can also be very enlightening and helpful for teachers and parents and even kids to understand what sense is working on what, what’s my movement sense. What’s my muscle activity sense. You know, when I’m doing jumping jacks, what, you know, what sense am I using? , yeah,
Speaker 2 00:05:42 So, uh, the appropriate, uh, section would that also be like, if you’re giving a hug, maybe you’re squeezing too tight, another kid, or throwing a ball way too hard
Speaker 1 00:05:52 Or pulling and pushing, climbing. Gotcha. All of those things that, those muscles, muscle contractions sending signals.
Speaker 2 00:06:02 I know a w after I had my seizures and stuff, half of my body was off. So, uh, I had issues with the vestibular and the appropriate deception. Yeah. And they had to guide me with like a little leash. So I definitely had my, my, my OT as well. So it’s not just, it can be for everybody.
Speaker 1 00:06:27 Yeah. I definitely see it in adults as well. Who’ve had traumatic brain injuries or who have had strokes or things like that as well. Yeah. Yep.
Speaker 2 00:06:34 So OT can be forever.
Speaker 1 00:06:37 They can.
Speaker 2 00:06:39 , so, uh, can you explain to our listeners with a PDF pediatric occupational therapist is, and who would meet one?
Speaker 1 00:06:48 So a pediatric OT, I would say, works with children, children to help develop the necessary skills that they may not have in order to complete their daily activities as independently as possible. So they can work in the realm of self care, social skills, handwriting, schooling, if your child is not developing typically or meeting milestones development, displaying developmental delays, uh, has a physical, disability or a cognitive delay, an OT would be able to work with your child to set goals and figure out how we get them to those to meet those goals. What treatment strategies will we use to help them get to those goals, which will therefore make them more independent in their daily activities. and so who would recommend
Speaker 2 00:07:40 Oh, T to someone,
Speaker 1 00:07:42 we get referrals from, you know, schools, the school districts, , we get referrals from pediatricians, a lot developmental pediatricians, , you know, regional centers that have had, you know, clients who have been evaluated and have been found to need OT or refer, , like a birth yeah. Regional center, zero to three. And then, you know, we’ve also had a lot of clients that have independently come in and requested an evaluation and requested to be, seen. So at that point we would do the evaluation and determine if this child really needs OT or if it’s behavioral or something else and guide them in the right direction. Oh, perfect.
Speaker 2 00:08:31 Do pediatric therapists focus on different things than a general therapist would?
Speaker 1 00:08:37, so there’s like, there’s your speech therapist that will focus on language, right. receptive language. And, then there’s also the PT that would focus more on the physical components of movement. , the OT is more of a physical cognitive, social fine motor sensory cocktail of different things. , so it’s, you know, it’s, it’s a, it’s a therapist that works on all, all of those areas, the cognitive, the social, , social skills, fine motor for handwriting, or for just simply for dressing, being able to button zip, things that pertain to daily living activities, of course, things that pertain to reaching those goals. Whereas a speech therapist would be just focusing a pediatric speech therapist would just be focusing on the speech aspect and component, which we don’t focus on. and the physical would mostly be motor walking balance, things like that.
Speaker 2 00:09:37 and a lot of times, like you said, , the behaviors are actually sensory issues. what are some clues for a parent or caregiver and how can they, , best support their child?
Speaker 1 00:09:51 If you notice your child is having a hard time processing sensory input is sensitive to certain textures, maybe clothing, foods, I’m afraid to engage in social play, maybe engage in activities on the playground, or if they’re being called hyper active and you know, the child doesn’t sit down and your child is bouncing off the walls all the time is unable, or she’s unable to focus. it’s all warranted to, to look a little deeper, to see if there is an underlying sensory component, but that’s not to say every parent who has a child who is doing that should go cause then everybody would be going to OT. But I think it’s more so if it’s impacting their daily life, if it’s impacting their ability to learn, if it’s impacting them to the point where they are not able to Excel, then it’s a cause for concern, if it’s just okay here and there a little bit, you know, but they’re still getting good grades and, and making their friends and, and, and, and engaging with peers and all that, all those components are still okay. Um, I’m not saying run to OT, it’s when it impacts their daily life to where it would be a cause for concern and possibly wouldn’t hurt to get an evaluation and just to see.
Speaker 2 00:11:08 Excellent., how has, uh, Oh, uh, how do you work with children in the school setting to help them incorporate movement and senses and, uh, do you help with the IEP?
Speaker 1 00:11:20 Yeah, so we are part of the IEP team, and they’re usually our school-based OT is who would work on specifics, like modifying the school’s classroom setting, to help the child up, uh, maintain the optimal level of focus and arousal, also share or recommend sensory tools and sensory activities and things that could help the child specific towhichever child they’re working with to help them better focus in class. , and yes, we are a part, the IEP team along with the speech and PT or whoever else is recommended for the child. Uh, it’s all like a collaborative team effort to make sure we’re all doing the best for the child. Yeah. I’m sure it’s quite, yeah.
Speaker 2 00:12:09 A compactive effort, especially if there might be many of you. Yeah.
Speaker 1 00:12:13 Mmm.
Speaker 2 00:12:14 I often recommend, like
Speaker 1 00:12:17 Chairs and stuff. Cause I know like certain,
Speaker 2 00:12:19 Yeah. There’s like the bouncy chairs, the wall, there’s so many things,
Speaker 1 00:12:25 There’s so many things out there and it’s really specific to the child and what the, what sensory input the child is seeking. There are chewy pens, that’s proprioceptive when you’re chewing with the job. So like those little pencils that have the little thing that you can chew when you’re trying to like, you know, engage your probe, sense and kind of try to alert yourself. there’s, you know, little movement breaks that a lot of OTs, you know, incorporate into, especially during the virtual stuff, it’s very much like, okay, now it’s time for a movement break movement activities., the bouncy chairs, the cushions, the sensory cushions. , yeah, they’re really all depends on what the child needs. It’s a kind of a case by case situation, but those are all, uthings that we would recommend or, , give our advice on what would be best for the child to maintain focus and attention. Wow.
Speaker 2 00:13:22 , how has this year affected your work?
Speaker 1 00:13:26 Well, in many ways, I mean our clinic is still open. we are adhering of course, district CDC guidelines and protocols of dentation and keeping everything clean and safe for our clients and our employees. But now we can’t see as many clients in our, in our clinic. So we are decree. We have a decreased caseload for that. We only see one, there’s only one OT and one client in the, in treatment, uh, before we had multiple. so that’s affected our case load. And then, it’s much more difficult to provide OT virtually because a lot of what we do is, is physical. A lot of what we do is engaging in, in social play, , in physical play and motor planning skills and sequencing. And, and you can’t really do that when you don’t have all of the suspended equipment and all of the swings and all of the rock climbing walls and all of the things that we have within our gym.
Speaker 1 00:14:27 So it’s kind of really making OTs become super extra creative on how to guide parents on these are things you can use in your house, or, you know, these are some pillows you could use, or maybe you could do this. And just trying to work with the parents is definitely a lot more challenging. , and then a lot of kids who need the OT because of COVID and because of the, you know, granted everyone’s worried and, and wants to keep wanting to keep their children safe. So a lot of parents have opted to not go to OT now. And, you know, after coming back to us after so many months of not seeing the child, it’s kind of like, Oh great. Now we have a lot of backtracking to do here because you know, a lot of progress has slipped the window. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Speaker 1 00:15:20 That’s hard. That’s tough. It’s a tough, yeah, it’s a tough time. But, um, but yeah, the kids that we are able to see in clinic, um, is definitely the best way to go. Um, but unfortunately, because of COVID, we can only see, we have to see a lesser amount so that there’s not as many spots available. That’s rough. That’s really rough. I, but on a good note, you had your book so people can read about stuff at their home. Um, no matter the COVID, um, and it’s called, Oh, messy me. So that’s the first book and you’ll be having more books. So, um, can you tell our listeners a little bit about that and the future of the book series? Absolutely. So the sense of kids series basically takes different sensory concerns within each week in each book. And, um, there’s, there’s always a new character.
Speaker 1 00:16:18 Who’s going through a sensory concern and this character is dealing with an issue with her tactile sense. So there’s a story about Nora. She has an issue with her, um, processing, tactile information, and she calls on the Spencer kids to help her. And this there’s a song and dance, and it’s really cute and fun. And the sense of kids appear. And they basically what we would do as OTs in the clinic or certain activities we would play or engage with the child for that sensory concern. Um, the sense of kids play those games with her. So the sense of kids are almost like mini OTs that show up and go, okay, in the home setting, these are things we do for this. And, they guide her through. And then at the end of the story, she is able to now feel the sensations better.
Speaker 1 00:17:07 so the same thing with the rest of the series, other books will come out in a similar fashion with a new character. Who’s dealing with a sensory struggle and the sense of kids will help overcome like many OTs overcome the, the, the sensory concern. the beginning of the book starts off explaining all seven senses in a very fun child-friendly way. then the second part of the book introduces each sense of kid character. So you can get familiar with the sense of kids. And then we get into the story. the last page is a teacher parent education page, which kind of in a little bit more, , little more, uh, difficult language to understand. , it explains what this character was actually going through and how the activities that the sense of kids provided helped and why they helped. So it gives a little bit of background to the parents and to the teachers on, Oh, these things can be helpful because, whereas the children are reading it more for the fun story effect.
Speaker 1 00:18:15 So it’s a really an educational book. I think it’s more geared to educate, children and parents and, and families.but at the same time, it’s child friendly. So you, if you’re reading it to your child, you’re learning as well as your child is learning. but you will be able to take probably more out of it because, you know, they’re there, especially at the end of the book, there will be a, an education page that will explain a lot more in depth to you. So you would be able to understand a little more sensory aspects a little bit more in depth.
Speaker 2 00:18:53 Yeah. yeah. And, and it’s really helpful because maybe your child isn’t suffering from that, but they’re around other kids from that. And, and they can kind of get that, or maybe they’ll have a day where they’re just off. And I mean, my kids have had that. We’re all messy me. That’s my oldest. He’s like, Oh, my shirt is inside out and I have stuff all over. Oh, okay. And you’re like, Oh goodness. Okay, can you go change?
Speaker 1 00:19:22 I like, I didn’t know. Or it’s, it’s knowing another child in school who maybe is, is inadequately processing that information and being like, Oh my friend so-and-so does that, maybe this is why my friend does this. Maybe I should play these sense of kid’s games with this friend, or also reducing the stigma, I think as well, associated with certain, sensory processing concerns.
Speaker 2 00:19:47 Right. So it’s not just for maybe the parent of the child who has this, but it’s no everybody who is in society so they can see what is going on with other people.
Speaker 1 00:19:59 I mean, if you think about it, we all function. Our daily life is all based around sensory information. All of us are typically developing children, children with special needs. They’re all processing sensory feedback and sensory information. So it’s information that’s, that’s helpful and, positive for all children., a lot of the children that have read it, so far and have given feedback have all been typically developing children. Who’ve been like, Oh, I didn’t know. We had seven senses. Oh, my favorite character is busy. Cause I like to spin too. So it’s, it’s really not specific to children with a disability, but it is eye opening and gives a parent a chance to teach their child that, okay, this CA this child is going through this, look, these are the activities played to do this. You want to play those activities. Or if you have a friend maybe at school, who’s got this, maybe you can play those activities with them, you know, just to kind of reduce stigma and improve kind of social morale.
Speaker 2 00:21:01 Yeah. For me, when I was a kid, I was like the hyperactive kid, but I got good grades. So I was running around the class and the teachers were like looking at me as if I was not, I was constantly moving. And some of the teachers understood that and some of them didn’t. So I like look at this and I can’t wait until the vestibular one comes out. I’ll know more about myself and I’m in my chair and I’m holding myself back right now. we all, we all have our things. So it’s good. It’s really cool.
Speaker 1 00:21:42 And as long as it’s not impacting your daily life, I mean, I, like, I find it very relaxing to rock. Sometimes I’ll even walk myself to sleep and I’ll just like, love to that Rocky motion and that’s fine. , it’s only when, you know, but so this is even more so to say that this a book on the census and a book on exploring your sensory superpowers is a fun way to educate on something we all should be knowledgeable about.
Speaker 2 00:22:08 Exactly. Even for us adults, even if it comes, it children’s book, it makes it less, let’s scary, more approachable. And if we read it to our kids, then we feel, we feel like we have a reason to read it and you know, like, Oh, I’m reading it for my kids. And I’m learning about myself.
Speaker 1 00:22:27 I know. I mean, I read to my 10 month old and I read a little, you know, I read a lot of books to him and I’ll be reading books and I’m like, Oh wow. I’m learning from this book right now. This is pretty awesome. , so I love that it has that element to it, of edgy, of being able to educate the parent as well. Yeah,
Speaker 2 00:22:46 Absolutely. I’m all about that. Cause I homeschool. So you never know what you’re going to learn.
Speaker 1 00:22:52 Yes. Yes.
Speaker 2 00:22:53 Well, is there anything else you’d like our listeners to know?
Speaker 1 00:22:57 I mean, if you have Instagram follow us at, OT studios, LA uh, we have a lot of educational videos on there with the sense of kids doing their thing and educating. , we also, our website is OT studios, la.com. I would just urge any parent, to, to, you know, read the book to your child. We did the book for yourself, , educators, especially, so that you’re more aware of the kids you work with, at schools and now at homeschool. and yeah, I think it’ll, it’ll help everyone also kind of gain insight to whether their child may be struggling with something that they’re not noticing could be a sensory concern that us OTs would be able work with very, you know, easily in the clinic. And it wouldn’t be as big of a concern if we were able to get them evaluated. So, yeah. Well I’ll put all your information in the show notes so people can click on it easily. And thank you again for your time. I appreciate it so much. Thank you so much for having me.