Back to School


It’s September and that means back to school. The engines of the buses are roaring. The teachers are organizing and working their magic interior decorating on those classrooms.

back to school

If your child is homeschooling there will be no need for any 1st day gitters but for the rest of us the first day of school is typically the hardest day.

Momentous leaps are when your child begins going to school for the first time, enters Kindergarten at an elementary school K-5 or K-8, or when your child goes to middle school or high school. Get ready to leap with them.

It’s normal for your child to feel anxious  about the first day of school especially if your child will be going to a new school.


If your school has an open house or an orientation or a BBQ prior to school starting this will be a great opportunity for your child get acquainted with some of the other kids or the surroundings of the school.

Some helpful hits about the first day are to:

-prepare all the supplies in advance,
-pick out your child’s clothes the night before,
-talk to your child about what to expect for the first day,
-and remain calm yourself.

All beginnings are hard but with a little preparation things might just go smoothly for your child but for some parents they may be shedding a tear or two as they watch their “baby” move up in status.

Cheers 🙂

NEW Demo Video with Animation

NEW Demo Video with Animation

Our team worked hours and hours to bring this fun and informative video to the world. It’s really
amazing that we can create cartoons now with our computers. I remember laughing and laughing when I was little to Ben and Jerry cartoons.

Cartoons are so much fun and they can convey a significant message that would take a long time
to deliver in a short and powerful way.

Enjoy the cartoon!
🙂 Lisa

Lisa Shooman Occupational Therapist Collaborates with Relationship Expert Dr. Karen Ruskin

April is Autism Awareness Month and also Occupational Therapy Awareness Month

By now most of us are aware of autism. What we need are solutions.
Enter in Dr. Karen Ruskin…

Dr. Karen Ruskin, Relationship Expert

She is a media Psychotherapist guest expert on relationships, parenting, hot topics in the news. She appears on FOX News Channel’s: The O’Reilly Factor, FOX & Friends, FOX & Friends FIRST, America Live, Hannity, and FOX Business Network’s: Cavuto. Regular go–to for FOX News Boston including the Ask Dr. Karen segment. She also appeared on The Steve Harvey TV Show, and more. She is a reliable radio guest expert and columnist and she often quoted in various print media: FOX Business, FOX News Magazine, Boston Globe, Boston Herald,, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo Shine, Parents, Parenting, CNN, TIME, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, USA Today, and more. Dr. Karen is the Owner/Founder/President: Dr. Karen Ruskin & Associates, Inc.

She posted this on her blog:

Collaborative Treatment Approach

I urge marriage and family therapists (MFT) to have a trusted occupational therapist (OT) who practices in their town – for collaborative treatment. (As a business owner of a mental health/wellness practice I will state that this approach works and is a significant piece of the difference that makes the difference in the treatment success for autistic children and in helping the couple get to a better place). When a couple comes in for marriage counseling reporting the fine and gross motor skill struggles their autistic child is having, to be able to refer them to a trusted occupational therapist is extremely helpful. Release of information paperwork is signed and the MFT and the OT can communicate with one another.

For an example, imagine the scenario where a child is struggling reaching for objects thus is constantly knocking over items. During family dinner the child reaches to get the pepper but does not have the capability to reach so his upper body finds its way onto the dinner table and in the process he knocks over his sister’s milk. The children go at it, then the father yells at the child who knocked over the milk (the autistic child), and the mother yells at the father for yelling at the child. If the OT and MFT are communicating/collaborating, the OT shares with the MFT that the autistic child is not purposefully causing trouble and rather having trouble reaching across. This is helpful for the MFT to know. The way the parents present their frustration explaining in the counseling session the event that occurred at home is that their autistic child intentionally is physically disruptive with his sibling at the dinner table once again causing their vision of family dinner to collapse and rather dinner is about managing their autistic child’s behavior. The MFT with insight into the OT’s analysis can then discuss this with the parents and come up with coping strategies for the parents. The MFT likely would discuss with the parents tips for recognizing what the actual problem is (e.g., behavioral or fine/gross motor) and how to interact more effectively when they see a given problem. The MFT can help the couple with words and actions they can use to show their being supportive of the autistic’s child attempt to reach, while also attending to their other child’s experience, needs, and life journey. All the while the OT works with the child on mobility.

Here in Sharon Massachusetts at Dr. Karen Ruskin & Associates, the Occupational Therapist
I collaborate with is Function Therapy – Lisa Shooman.

Here at GraspRite, LLC we are delighted to be able to collaborate with Dr. Karen Ruskin on a regular basis.

Dr. Karen says the top 4 most common challenges/struggles parents of autistic children face are…

Problem #1: Family life and parenting is not fun and not what the couple expected/envisioned their family life to be.

a) Parents report time together as a family whether the autistic child is an only, or if there are siblings, always feels strained with all attention on managing the autistic child’s behavior.

b) Parents feel they are missing out on activities they thought they would do as a family but cannot because of the autistic child.

Solution: Shift in expectations and creating a different kind of fun.

(E.g., Beach loving adults envisioned that as parents they would be laying on the beach as husband and wife while the kids play in the sand. They cannot do so because the autistic child is bothering other families on the beach. Thus, once again needing and requiring attention and management. This therapist says; that doesn’t mean the beach is out. Be creative! Bring potato sacks and jump around as a family).

Problem #2: Socialization

All parents want their children to be able to participate in interactive activities with other children. Socialization is such an important part of childhood. It breaks their heart that their child does not have the capability to participate in many of the activities that invites social interaction (e.g., sports).

Solution: Pick a social activity to do with your child and provide consistent positive feedback so they will feel emotionally capable. Bring them to an occupational therapist who specializes in children with autism to help them with their fine and gross motor skills to strengthen – so they can be physically capable.

(E.g. Baseball, bike riding, basketball).

Problem #3: Communication Challenges

Children with autism struggle with communication.

Solution: Be open to the various tools of communication. Use technology! Provide your autistic child with the option of typing what they want to say to you. Sit next to them and read out loud what they are typing to you on the computer. Show your response with your words, tone, and body language.

Problem #4: Marital Intimacy

Couples who have an autistic child typically report there is no longer a marriage. Their function is solely as parents. The 3 legs of marriage includes; emotional, physical, and sexual intimacy with an overall umbrella of communication. The 3 legs is next to none as all their energy and time is for the child as a parenting team. Couples who take the time to make the time to water the plant of marriage to have a healthy marriage are stronger as a parenting team.

Solution: Be mindful of and attend to the 3 legs of marriage. Note the following examples. Have a weekly to 2x per week block of time to connect with one another sexually (sexual). Each day be mindful of 1 thing you can do by action or say with words to show your spouse they are special to you (emotional e.g., put a sticky note on the bathroom mirror that says; I appreciate you, in the morning before you check your email tell your spouse one of your favorite qualities about them). Each day be mindful of physically connecting, even if but only for 1 minute (physical e.g., hug hello, kiss on the neck while the other is cooking dinner).

autism pic w blocks

Do Parents Of Autistic Children Have Other Problems?

Of course there are more than just the aforementioned 4 problems that parents of autistic children are faced with. Problems including but not limited to: financial, finding the right medical doctor, interacting with teachers and other parents, and more . . . The 4 explained above are the most common problems parents of autistic children attend couples counseling with a marriage and family therapist, that they wish to focus their solution strategies on. Certainly the wide range of other struggles exist, many of which are discussed in session.

View the full post from Dr. Karen Ruskin here.

Lisa Shooman gives talk to full house of Occupational Therapists

Lisa Shooman gives talk to Full House of Occupational Therapists

I was invited to speak at the Rhode Island Occupational Therapy Association (RIOTA). Great
to meet everyone who attended.

There was a full house of occupational therapists, certified occupational therapy assistants, and students in attendance. Everyone got continuing education credits!

The event took place at the beautiful newly built New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, RI.

I really enjoyed presenting. Thank you to RIOTA for inviting me.

Sorry to the therapists who wanted to attend but who did not get in. There was a seating
limit and the room was filled to capacity.

Please email me if you would like the slides of my presentation titled “On Target OT.”

Lisa 🙂

Some say Adam Lanza had Sensory Processing Disorder

Some say Adam Lanza had Sensory Processing Disorder

Dear Parents,

Do not fear your child will grow up to be another Adam Lanza if he or she has Autism or Sensory Processing Issues.

The autism community was appalled that the media was suggesting Adam Lanza had Autism. There was a report that came out on February 19, 2013 on PBS that Adam Lanza had sensory processing disorder (SPD) or sensory integration dysfunction (SID).

I do not agree. Here are a few points to consider:

1. There was no official documentation of such a diagnosis.
2. It is impossible to give a diagnosis of an adult without examining the person.
3. Typically children with sensory processing disorder have trouble with loud noises– how could he tolerate the loud noises of his weapons?

Autism, SID, ADHD, SPD, and LD do not lead to violence and psychopathy if left untreated.

My psychologist colleagues were discussing a possible diagnosis of “psychopathology” or “sociopath” but even so we professionals should not try to diagnose him after the fact with out going through the proper routine diagnostic procedures.

My heart goes out to the families in Newtown, CT — there are no words to console you.
May you be comforted now and forever.


Dr. Karen Ruskin, PhD recommends Occupational Therapy to Help Children Frustrated with Writing

The Ask Dr. Karen Fox 25 News morning segment covered children’s issues. The topics included: fine/gross motor skills, night terrors, and bullying.

Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Dr. Karen recommended parents check out a new book by Lisa Shooman, MS, OTR/L, BSS, CLVT called The GraspRite Method: The GraspRite Method: The Quick and Easy Guide to Helping Your Child Develop the Essential Fine and Gross Motor Skills Every Elementary Schooler Needs.

Dr. Karen also discussed how occupational therapy compliments the care that children receive from mental health clinicians.  Dr. Karen recommends early intervention for children and for parents to have patience with their children “easier said than done,” chimed in Sorboni Banerjee from Fox25 News. Parents can also look at why a child might be feeling frustrated and address those issues. For example, a child might be having trouble with writing and that may be from a fine motor issue. Awesome information.

Happy Holidays to all!

I’m Here

What your child/student/patient might want you to know…

  • It’s really hard for me to write. My hand hurts when I hold the pencil. And sometimes I feel overwhelmed in a high-pressure situation. I might scream or try to run away because I don’t know what to do — I’m stuck. At these times you need to give me directions and help me figure out what to do.
  • I wish I could ride a bike but I don’t know how. I haven’t developed my motor skills yet. And sometimes I just feel out of control. Maybe I am angry, upset or disappointed. I don’t know how to handle these feelings. I need you to train me to react in a respectful manner.
  • It’s hard for me to sit upright in my chair at school. And sometimes during my day I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing. Maybe there’s too much going on so I forget something. I don’t know how this happens.
  • Sometimes I can’t figure out how to organize my things. There’s just too much stuff and I can’t sort it all out by myself. This frustrates me. I need you to get me started, and then I can do the rest.
  • I want you to understand that sometimes I need you to help me. I can’t do everything on my own. That’s why you need to be there for me, to guide me, and support me.

Your Child
P.S. I can’t always color inside the of the lines because I’m not perfect.
P.P.S. Thank you for loving me and trying to learn how to help me. 🙂

Technology for Autism Now wins the GraspRite Giveaway!

THANK YOU to everyone for suggesting organizations, voting, and spreading the word.

On May 10th, the community chose the 501(c)3 Autism non-profit called Technology for Autism Now (TAN) to win the GraspRite Giveaway, a contest to select 1 Autism charity organization to support with sales of my NEW book– because I want to give back to the community.  It makes me happy to know that I’ve helped someone.  Bloggers and posters from the “LinkedtoAutism” list group commented that this was a great thing to do.

There were so many suggestions for which Autism charity to choose from the list group.  So I launched an online democratic vote– called the GraspRite Giveaway.

TAN won because they had the most votes (666 votes)!

The contest drew contestants and votes from all over the world, more than 1,800 people voted in the online contest.

The winner was in my own backyard, right here in Boston.  Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Marie, the founder of TAN, and her team in the Boston area.  We really hit it off.

TAN’s mission is to provide quality assistive technology communication solutions (like I-PADS and more) for the Autism community. What is so amazing is that they are located in the Boston area.

You can see an inspiring video about them here:

Marie Duggan is the 12th of 13 children and the mother of six children, one severely affected with Autism.

She fights the system whenever it fails to support parents and caregivers. Her son is now 22 years old and she navigating life with an adult child with severe Autism.

My new book is called The GraspRite Method.  It’s a book about the most important exercises for children based on interviews with other therapists, my research, training, and experience.

The GraspRite Method will be coming out soon and we’re working on the new website:

Please let me know what you think of the website.

Cheers 🙂


New Secure Online Registration Form

It’s February…how are we doing on our new Year’s goals? I noticed the gym is packed. Seems like more people are going to the gym and that’s a good thing.

The NEW on-line form is up! Creating this form took longer than I thought.

Hiring a programmer, testing, coding, editing, coding, and editing and testing took a while but it was well worth the effort because it will help us serve YOU better.

With this on-line registration we can verify your insurance and schedule an appointment faster.

We are moving to a paperless world.

Please let us know what you feel about the online registration form?