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How many of you out there have heard of Pinterest? How many of you have used it before? How many of you use it as a place for finding OT treatment ideas?

If you (mentally) raised your hand to any of these questions, then you’re on the right track!

In case you don’t know, Pinterest is a place for sharing and organizing images and ideas that you find on the Internet. By following the “pins” that your friends share, you can create virtual pinboards that are organized any way you like and re-post your friends’ pins onto your various boards. Make sense? So, for example, I have a handful of boards that organize topics such as recipes, photography, kids’ activities (for someday when my 5-month-old grows up), do-it-yourself projects, and so on.

The pinboard that I’m MOST passionate about is my OT board. When I first joined Pinterest in the summer of 2011 (when I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of my 1st baby!), I noticed that there were all these great kids’ activities floating around and I thought to myself, I could totally use that in therapy! So I created an OT pinboard and started saving activities that I could potentially incorporate into my pediatric therapy sessions. As a new OT, this was such a breath of fresh air. I found a few ideas here and there and was content to have just a few things in my back pocket after being sleep deprived (you parents can relate!) and out of school and fieldwork for 6+ months.

Once I started working, however, I saw a flier that introduced me to a company that has put together the ULTIMATE world of OT resources: PediaStaff. I don’t work for PediaStaff and I had never heard of them before, so I’m not trying to covertly convince you to work for them. But what I am saying is that they have done something absolutely AMAZING…they have put together literally hundreds of pinboards for various topics related to pediatric therapy. I’m sorry if you’re not in peds and this doesn’t relate to you. But if you are? Oh boy, get ready! Their boards are for people who work with and teach kids — primarily OTs, SLPs, behavioral therapists, and school teachers (it’s possible there are other fields represented that I haven’t seen since there are so many pinboards). Off the top of my head, some topics of the OT boards include sensory/messy play, activities to promote hand strengthening, ways to develop and improve pencil grip, free printable visuals for visual schedules/picture exchange, picky eating, AAC, animal-assisted therapy, lots of boards related to specific diagnoses, and much, much, MUCH more. I can’t even begin to describe the depth and breadth of these boards, but once you dive in, there’s no stopping! I have been know to spend hours perusing just one board and saving articles and links that will be immensely helpful to me in my pediatric practice. Though some of the ideas I come across are things I already learned in OT school or fieldwork, many of the ideas are new to me and simply ingenious. I have also been introduced to many great blogs and articles that are written by OTs and cover a wide array of topics.

It is important to note that all of this idea sharing and pinning certainly does not serve as continuing education, as helpful as it is. But it most definitely supplements the formal education that we have already received and it can jump start our practice by giving us some new ideas for treatment and inspiring us to creative greatness.

So what about you? Have you found Pinterest to be a helpful resource to your OT practice? Are there other websites you use as a means of giving you new ideas and a fresh perspective on your profession? I would love to hear from you!

If you haven’t experienced Pinterest yet, go to http://www.pinterest.com and request an invite. You should receive an email within a few hours that will include a link that you can click on in order to set up an account. You will then be provided with suggestions for who you can follow, based primarily on your Facebook friends who are also Pinterest users. I hope it becomes as great a resource to you as it has for me!

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