About Mama OT

Headshot 2 cropped smallerWell hello there! My name is Christie. I’m a California-based mom and occupational therapist with additional background in gymnastics, psychology, and education, and I’m so glad you’ve taken a moment to check out this blog! MamaOT.com is a place where I am dedicated to encouraging, educating, and empowering those who care for children.

I became a mama in 2011 and then, three months later, I began my career as a pediatric occupational therapist (pediatric OT). Thus, the origins of Mama OT! I have found myself in the unique position of learning how to be both a mom and an OT simultaneously, and the really amazing thing is that each role teaches me how to do a better job in the other.

Being a new mom has given me a very unique perspective as I work with families to further their children’s development, especially when it comes to working with very young ones (such as itty bitty babies). I can really empathize and connect with the parents of my clients when they ask me about things like sleep deprivation, teething, feeding, or baby toys because I am going through it right along with them!

Conversely, being a part of the OT world has given me such a great pool of knowledge and hands-on experience from which to pull as I interact with and care for my own children. What a blessing! Every time I learn something new as an OT, I think to myself, I wish everyone who worked with kids knew about that!

Hence, this blog, which was started in April 2012.

They say it takes a village to raise a child, and I am learning first-hand that that is absolutely true! No one of us can do this by ourselves. We need other people to support us as we invest ourselves into caring for children of all ages. So whether you are a therapist, educator, parent, foster parent, family member, babysitter, nanny, or a friend who’s just helping out, my hope is that I can be a part of your “village”. I will do my best to supply you with helpful tips, tricks, information, ideas, and resources that will boost your ability to care for and work with the kids in your life.

Although many topics I address on this blog will be the direct result of something I’ve experienced while raising my own children (thus often reflecting ideas beneficial for other children of their similar ages), I will aim to cover topics that can be applied to older and younger children as well. Please take a moment to check out the categories covered on this blog by clicking on the “Home” tab at the top of this page and then reading through the list on the right side of the page.

My vision is that this blog will be a lighthearted space filled with helpful ideas and information, rather than something to make you feel insecure about how your child is developing relative to generic lists of what kids “should” be doing at various ages. If you are interested in reading about issues related to a particular stage of life or skill level that has not yet been covered, let me know by sending an email to mamaotblog [at] gmail [dot] com and I will do my best to put together a post that will help you out (though I can’t guarantee it).

Although I am a registered and licensed occupational therapist, this is not a place for skilled therapeutic intervention. The ideas presented on this blog are for informational purposes only and are not medical advice. A kid-oriented website, no matter how useful it may be, can never replace an individualized treatment plan developed as the result of assessment, clinical observation, and collaboration between therapist, caregiver, and (if applicable) child. If you are concerned about the development or functional abilities of a particular child in your life, then that child’s parent should talk with the pediatrician or seek out the services of a developmental pediatrician or a local occupational therapist/therapy clinic.

Also, I should add that appropriate supervision should be given to the child in your care when completing any activities from this site. You as the grown-up will need to decide what types of products/activities on this site will be safe for your child. If you’re not sure, check with your child’s occupational therapist or pediatrician. Appropriate and reasonable caution should be used when implementing ideas from this site, particularly if there is any risk of injury (e.g., falling, crashing), choking (e.g., small parts), drowning (e.g., water play), or allergic/adverse reaction (e.g., materials/ingredients). The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities from this post or this site.

If you find yourself wanting even more handy tips and tricks to help the kids in your life, then considering subscribing to Mama OT by clicking “Subscribe!” on the homepage so you can receive new posts via email. And be sure to keep up with all of Mama OT’s tips and info shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Thanks so much for allowing me to be a part of your “village”. I hope this blog will be a helpful resource to you and I look forward to the journey that lies ahead!

63 thoughts on “About Mama OT

  1. Pingback: Official launch of Mama OT! | Mama OT

    • Thanks, Amy! Glad you like the blog and thanks again for that wonderful post on toddler chores…my little one will be there soon enough!

  2. Love this blog! I became a mom and an OT in the same year too so I am in the same boat as you…navigating a new career and motherhood at the same time. Keep the posts coming!

  3. Hello MamaOT, I am an OT too (been an OT for 10 years) and just became a “mama” myself. I, too, just started a blog and will be checking in on yours now that I stumbled upon it. My background is in neuro rehab and acute care, a far cry from pediatrics. Congratulations and if you get a chance, I am at http://othealthandwellness.blogspot.com. Keep up the great work!

  4. Hi! I am a pediatric OT (mainly ages 3-5 EI in the outpatient setting) who has been practicing for about 2 years. I am getting married this year and hope to be a mommy in the next couple of years. I stumbled upon your blog from pinterest and love it! ! I share your same passion for OT and am constantly finding ways to find handy tips for the parents of my kids. Not being a mommy yet, I have a harder time identifying what is “typical” behavior at a certain age (particularly 2 years olds!) any tips would help! Anyway, thank you for the blog! I am really enjoying it!

    • Yes, it can be hard when you don’t have a non-therapy population for reference. In my experience, it’s helpful to be involved in other community programs like teaching/coaching kids’ sports (for me it was gymnastics) or volunteering in a setting like Sunday school. Being around family members or friends with little ones is helpful too. Best of luck to you!

  5. I see i am in good company……as i am ALSO an OT. 🙂 Have been for 15 yrs with the last 6 being strickly PRN only since becoming a mom in 2006…then again in 2009…& once again in 2011!

  6. Just found your blog, and I am really enjoying it! My daughter was born at 24 weeks, and has mild spastic cerebral palsy, so many of the things you talk about are things we are or were doing in therapy. It’s neat to see some other ideas! Love the sensory bags, something we will have to try for sure!

    • Michelle, so glad you stopped by! Feel free to email me at mamaotblog [at] gmail [dot] com and we can further discuss guest posting. Thanks!

  7. Pingback: Who is Mama OT? | Mama OT | Smart Moms - Clever Babies

  8. Iam a new mom with an OT & psychology background from Iran …
    I shared your play Gym article on my facebook & linkedin too
    I also have 2 full option & musical play Gym that my 4-month-old little girl can develope her skills with, she can play a little piano with her foot 😉
    Thanks for writting

  9. Hi. I am an ot of 10 years working in the uk and a dad of 3, aged 5 months to 4 years. Happened across your blog by accident and think its great! Always fab to see how creative we are as ot’s in using and sharing our skills and sharing the value of our unique profession.


  10. Hi! I’m an OT and just became a new mom myself about 2 weeks ago! I work with adults doing acute rehab. I love your blog and plan to follow you as I freshen up on my pediatric skills 🙂

  11. Hi! I’m a mom to two little ones, a little girl aged 4 and a little boy aged 2. My little girl has Sensory Processing Disorder and Anxiety. My little boy has motor and speech delays. They both receive OT services. They are also VERY bright, curious, and social. 🙂 I just came across your blog. I’m thrilled to read about all the wonderful activities for little ones! I can’t wait to try many of these at home; my kiddos are going to be so excited! Thank you for a wonderful resource.

  12. Hi there! Thank you for your blog!! I am currently an OT student and just happened upon your blog through Pinterest. I hope to be a pediatric OT after finishing school! Your blog is so encouraging and insightful, as well as full of such creative ideas. I will be following it regularly! Thank you!

  13. As a pediatric OT and clinic owner I find this site to very helpful. I find most therapists are female and they tend to have babies eventually which makes this site relevant.

    If you know of any therapists who are in private practice and would like to be a guest on my podcast at StartaTherapyPractice.com I would love for you to let me know.


  14. Hi,
    I am a mom of 4 beautiful boys, stayed home for a few years and now plan to return to OT in pediatrics. What a great site you have – so much information beautifully organized in one place! Last couple of years,I have given talks about designing playgrounds for inclusive play and play for all generations, explaining sensory processing and importance of sensory development in a child’s development. As well am working at MGill University in marketing of online OT programs (driving and chronic pain) – as someone wrote above, we do have a variety of skills! Thank you for continued OT inspiration…

  15. I was looking for information about the pros/cons of the ‘Bumbo’ seat and found a good article on here. My wife is an OT here in Wales, working with autistic and special needs children. I’ve shown her your blog and she thinks it’s great! Thanks for sharing

  16. Christine, your blog is fantastic. I am a canadian OT looking into moving to California to practice. I hope you can blog or get in touch with me because it will be interesting to see how OT plays out in the American system.

    Thanks for all your tips and tricks.
    They are life savers.

    – A

  17. Hi, i am glad to have found your blog. Thanks for the good work.
    I am Deogratious, a pediatric OT from Uganda and i work with Children’s Medical Center.
    I would love to share more idea and to get to learn more on how to help children with cognitive limitations and get to know most possible activities ..

  18. Hi Christine, great website with useful information. I would like to consult you if you have any advice on how I can read to my child. He seems to only hear what he likes to hear and most of the time, I felt like I’m reading to a wall. 🙁

    My child also doesn’t like to hold a pencil. Any suggestion on how I can arouse his interest?

    Thanks a mil!

  19. WOW! What a super website. I am presently tutoring an 8 yr old girl with Dyspraxia and PDD NOS. We do finger tasks (clothespins, spinning tops, thera putty and beads, sewing cards ………) at every session. She has learned a good tripod grip and can make squares and triangles and zigzag lines. she can stop on the dot!! Hoping to teach her to print, but the going is very slow. Presently I am trying to get her to “print” with her fingers, not the whole arm. The wrist is arched and the fingers are still. Any suggestions?

    • Thank you so much, Evelyne! That is awesome that she now has a functional pencil grasp. It sounds like she is currently using a “static” tripod where her fingers don’t move much, and the movements are initiated from the shoulder and elbow. Is that correct? If that’s the case, I have four quick, basic suggestions: 1) Play games with her that involve crawling and bearing weight on her hands. This can help strengthen the small muscles in the hands (the “arches”) that are responsible for those tiny movements that create a dynamic pencil grasp. 2) Try doing “warm-ups” that involve having her draw or color in small spaces — drawing short lines to make “grass” or rungs of a ladder, coloring in small polka dots or little flowers, etc. This will encourage her to use the smaller muscles in her hands to control the movements. 3) If you ever do crafts with her, encourage activities that have her performing actions such as crumpling tissue paper or moving items from her palm to fingers and fingers to palm (such as holding a few marbles or game tokens and “sliding” them out to her fingertips one at a time, and vice versa). This is great practice for those small muscles in the hands. 4) Try taping her papers to the wall or a whiteboard or easel, so they are on a vertical surface. This will automatically make her bend her wrist back in “extension”, which can then encourage her to use her fingers more. You could even do this for those coloring/drawing warm-ups I mentioned. Best of luck!

  20. Hi Christie. I discovered MamaOT on fb. I love seeing your posts. I am a retired pediatric OT on Long Island. I now have 2 grandsons (20 months, 2 years) and one girl due in April. I forward some of your ideas to my daughters. Many are also good reminders for me, of activities to do with my grandkids. Thanks for all you do!

    • Thank you for your kind note, Sherrie, I’m glad to know my ideas and the activities I share are helpful for you and your grandchildren!

  21. Pingback: The Unconventional Handwriting Guide (Part III): Modern Toys are Ruining Your Child’s Handwriting | Blue Mango LLC

  22. So happy I found your site. I can tell it’s different and I love it already! Thank you for sharing your wisdom! I am expecting my first baby (girl) in June so I’m trying to get a little advice before she arrives! 🙂

  23. Your site has been very helpful. Thanks for sharing. I am interested in purchasing some instructional videos on HOW TO TEACH DRESSING and FEEDING. I would really like some step by step instructional videos. I have searched and searched and had no luck. I am a special education teacher and I need some instructional videos for my staff members for a training. Do you have an ideas for me?

  24. I’m an OT student and I love your blog! Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge, its both heartening and very inspiring:)

  25. Hi Christie, I am a PT student working on an in-service explaining the benefits of crawling to parents. I found your 3 part series articles extremely helpful! I am creating a pamphlet and was wondering if I could use your photos from your articles if I kept the MamaOT.com logo in the pictures to give you credit? Thank you 🙂

  26. Hi Christie,
    I am an OT and will be travelling to China to do some training to caregivers in an orphanage with 130 children with disabilities. Due to the language barrier, I want to use a lot of photos to illustrate my trainings. May I use some of your great photos? I will reference your website. Thank you.

  27. Hi Cristie..
    I’m a mom n pediatric OT too. I’m from Indonesia.
    Ur blog is very inspiring.
    I would like to make the same blog like this in Bahasa Indonesia.
    Hope it will be done soon 🙂

  28. I absolutely love the blog and feel so happy to get some advice that is not making me feel guilty or a bad mommy! New follower here 🙂 keep up the great work!

  29. I love your blog, I’m a 3.5 yrOTR and have been working in SNF units until 1/1/16 when I start working with a very large school district ,outside of Houston ,TX. I am the only OTR as of now, I have 64 campus and 4COTA . I am very very very concerned about this venture as I have only a PT to help me with the computers and evals , oh and I have 350 evals to complete, I’m just not sure where to even begin. Thanks for the blog and any suggestions you may have will be greatly appreciated!!! Thanks!:)
    Angela P.

    • What a change for you! You’ll have to see what the workload looks like once you actually start in January, but it sounds like you’ll need to advocate for yourself pretty strongly to get some more OTR support in order to adequately do the job. There is no way to create a legally defensible OT assessment and report if you solely are responsible for 350. Hoping you get some help once you get started!

      • Thanks! They have 3 more positions open for OTR’s hopefully they found some others to help! I have no idea where to start, eval? Assessment? Reeval? I’m lost! 🤔😟

      • Once you get you’re list, you’ll just have to look at all the cases and start chipping away. Good luck!

    • Have you joined the “Pediatric Occupational Therapists” group on Facebook yet? Great place to get answers to questions like this! Just search the group name in the search bar on FB.

  30. Hi Christie! I absolutely love your blog, I have been reading it for about a year now — ever since my little boy had troubles with tummy time. I have found loads of useful tips here, thank you so much!
    Another thing I am struggling with now with my 16mo is using spoon/fork. I know most of the babies just learn by themselves at about 12mo. But as with most of the areas in my LO life — this is not the case. He can put the spoon into his mouth, but he has no idea how to get food onto the spoon/fork. Do you think you can help me with some ideas?


    • Hi Lidia! At 16 months of age, your little one is still at the early stages of learning how to use utensils. Developmentally speaking, toddlers usually figure out how to use a spoon before they learn how to operate a fork. In fact, fork use isn’t expected to come in fully until close to the 3rd birthday. So don’t panic! With spoon use at this age, the easiest foods will usually be ones that are “sticky” or that naturally cling to the spoon, such as yogurt, oatmeal, applesauce, or other purees. That’s not to say it won’t be messy! Spoon use typically begins as toddlers learn to “dip” the utensil into the food and just get a little bit of it from the bowl to their mouth. You won’t see a true “scoop” until later in the toddler years. Foods that are highly preferred will, of course, be the ones that your little one will be most motivated to dip the spoon into, so that would be my suggestion for getting started — pick a food that a spoon can be dipped in and that is highly preferred. You might need to provide some modeling and/or hand-over-hand assistance at first until he understands the concept. Good luck!

      • Thank you so much, Christie! That is very reassuring 🙂 Shall keep calm and carry on with all the mess then.

  31. Hi Christie,

    I am really enjoying your website! It’s given me great ideas for supporting my daughter’s development. I was wondering if you had any advice on primitive reflexes? My daughter is seven months and I think I still see her tonic neck reflex from time to time. I’m not sure if there are things I should be doing to help integrate the reflex or if it would be too early to have her looked at.



    • Hi Leah, don’t worry at 7 months of age! I actually just finished taking a continuing education course on primitive reflexes and my biggest thing that I will keep preaching to anyone who works with or raises babies is to give them experiences to explore within their natural environment!! Movement develops the brain. Movement develops the central nervous system. And natural movement opportunities (i.e., not bouncing up and down in a jumper or “walking” while standing in a walker) lay the foundation for central nervous system development, motor development, and learning. Through playtime on the back, sides, and belly…through rolling…through rocking back and forth on hands and knees…through army crawling…through crawling on hands and knees…babies’ brains are typically able to integrate those reflexes on their own by the first birthday. So continue to offer movement-based exploration and play opportunities through infancy, toddlerhood, and beyond!

  32. Hello, thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge here! I just found you while looking up OT therapies/exercises for my 17 month-old’s ankles. I couldn’t find anything on this subject via your search box… Do you have any information, or could you help point me to places I could find some help with overpronation or ‘flexible flat feet?’
    Her uncle has severe’y rolled-inward ankles/feet, and I just noticed my tiny toddler looks like she has the beginnings of feet like his. She’s very active and hardly stops moving, but I’d like to know if there are any things I could do to help her legs/feet/ankles develop more appropriately now, instead of just waiting for 3-5 yrs when they say she may possibly grow out of it.
    Thank you for your time, help, and consideration. Happy Friday!

    (PS- Sorry I didn’t see contact info to ask directly, but I’d be happy to e-mail too! …StarGaiz at “google”mail dotcom.)

    • Hi, you’re right, since I’m not a physical therapist, I haven’t written about infant or toddler foot development. But I can direct you to a blog written by a PT that does! http://blog.dinopt.com/ She has great, detailed info, so hopefully you can find the info you need there.

  33. Thank you for the wealth of information- activities, gift ideas, etc. My toddler is a sensory SEEKER and we are just starting to look into SPD as the cause. Between eating fuzz and crunchy foods galore, rough-housing constantly, hating diaper changes, and an obsessive love for dirt/vacuums/music/water etc., it’s safe to say we are seeing all the red flags. I think he’s getting a fair amount of stimulation (sand box, gardening, tickles, food) but I hope to incorporate some of your suggestions into our everyday life.

  34. Hi MamaOT,
    I am and OT student and writing a project on sensory toys, I was just wondering if you are able to possible please provide me with some links to journal articles/evidence that supports the use of these toys with children with sensory processing issues?
    Your work has been so help to me!

    Thanks in advance!

    • Sounds like a great project! Since you are a student and you likely have unlimited access to evidence-based databases through your school, I would suggest starting with a search there. If you get stuck, your professor or librarian should be able to help you refine your search to help you locate the information you’re looking for. Best of luck!

So, whadya think?