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Welcome to the inaugural issue of Woosh, a quarterly zine from the team at Qi Creative. We are professional Occupational Therapists, Clinical Social Workers, Behaviour Specialists and Speech Language Pathologists. We are also unique individuals with talents and passions for all kinds of creative experiences. We are artists, writers, designers, chefs, musicians, dancers, martial artists, lovers, parents, friends, scrap-bookers, warriors and dreamers. In this issue you will get to know us a bit as we share our passions, interests and expert knowledge. Woosh is an expression that we use within our team to share creative energy with one another. We found it a fitting title for this magazine as we want to share our creative energy with you. We believe that in order to share the importance of self-expression in our practice with others, we need to practice what we preach. Before I became an OT and Behaviour Coach, I was a musician, martial artist hip-hop dancer, spoken word poet, a cappella singer, beatboxer, and actor. I am still all of those and I incorporate these aspects of myself into my daily professional practice. Woosh is about celebrating life and creating opportunities to do what you love and love what you do. Thank you for allowing us to express ourselves and share our passions with the world. WOOSH!


Occupational Therapist, Coach, Founder and CEO of Qi Creative

Introducing Qi Creative BRONWEN BLACK BA, MScOT Occupational Therapist and Coach

Explore. Create. Play. Learn. I believe that every human is entitled to freely do these things, and I am passionate to find a balance of these things in my life while empowering others on their quest to do the same. Through Tae Kwon Do, filmmaking, photography, zine-ing, music, writing, imaginative play and interaction with others, I strive to grow, share ideas with people and have fun!


Occupational Therapist and Coach

Hi! My name is Helen! I love curling up with a good fantasy book, cuddling with my dog, and taking pictures of sunrises. Other times you may also find me in an Oilers hockey jersey and cheering at a home game. Making sure I do something I love, every day, brings a smile to my face and a spring to my steps!

SAM PATHIRANA BScOT Occupational Therapist and Coach

My name is Sam, Sam I am. I do not like green eggs and ham. That’s not to say that I don’t like trying new foods. Quite the opposite. I love food, and everything about it. Especially dessert! My terrible sweet tooth means that I also have to work hard to keep off the extra pounds, so I’m lucky that my favourite things also include exercise and sports. Hockey, football, basketball, you name it. I also love sharing my thoughts and ideas with people, and helping them to see the world through the lens of love, compassion, and understanding.


Occupational Therapist and Coach

I am grateful and blessed to wake up each day to a loving husband, sweet baby daughter, and playful dog. My family means the world to me! People describe me as ambitious, funny, and loving. What I love the most is being a mom! Aside from being an OT I daydream about being a fashion designer and furthering my studies in Natural Medicine. I also love to eat and do fun things with my family and friends like sing karaoke or travel!

ANDREA FRAGOMENI BA, MSLP, R.SLP Speech Language Pathologist and Coach

Some of the things I love: My little boy. Travelling with my husband. Cooking with friends. Coffee! My favourite quote is by Margaret Mead: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

PAULA DEMAY BBA, MSW Student Certified Trauma Specialist and COO of Qi Creative My commitment to personal growth and love for self has allowed me to embrace my feisty, energetic, and creative self, allowing me to better serve others. I have a strong belief that if I can love myself first-from the inside out-I am better able to accept, appreciate and love those who surround me. I live by a motto; to be GEENA: Genuine, Empathetic, Empowering, NonJudgmental, and Assertive. As long as I come from this place with compassion and love I will always stay true to my heart and my soul.

BRENNAN BLACK BA, BDES Student Designer and Communications Director

I love good things and I love making good things. Some parts of the world I love: skateboarding, music, coffee, art, literature, wisdom, mountains, woods and oceans. Woosh Vol 1.1

Pagpasabot Expressing Yourself Every two years we put on a Self-Expression Festival for children and youth in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines. The festival focuses on inspirational forms of art such as music, dance, hip hop, public speaking, and leadership. This is an amazing opportunity not only for children living on the streets but also for the community to embrace the power within each person to change their thoughts and beliefs. When the body moves, grooves, sings, dances, and expresses itself in fun ways the brain, mind, and spirit are nurtured. Since 2007, Pagpasabot has not only changed the lives of hundreds of children and youth, but it has changed the way the Tacloban community sees children living on the streets. The spirit of expression is not only a therapeutic tool for healing; it is our ability to communicate with the world. It is what makes us truly human.   by Jonathan Rivero

Gum I don’t know about you, but to me, bubblegum is therapeutic. I control what I chew; choose between spicy peppermint or cinnamon, soft grape or strawberry, or the ever coarse, timeless, delicious Dubble Bubble brand. I select how many pieces I want and how long I chew them for. Gum calms me when I’m anxious or in a rush. On long trips through rural Alberta for work, it keeps me alert and focused; simultaneously serving as a barrier to my lifelong habit of nail-biting. Chewing gum is a calming, repetitive, sensory activity that is also appropriate for nearly any age. From what I’ve seen in my day to day work, gum chewing can help children to focus on school activities, calm down when they are anxious and can divert them from chewing other potentially harmful objects. It is simple, but for many people, including myself, gum chewing can help regulate emotions, habits and alertness levels. Then there’s the bubble blowing; a stimulating and challenging activity; an art and a science. How long to chew it, how much, what type, what brand, what colour or flavour? What is the recipe that will produce the biggest best bubble I’ve ever blown? Recently, I showed a little girl I work with how to blow bubbles with her gum. I introduced her to what I consider a user-friendly brand, we started practicing in front of a mirror, and before long, the size of her gum bubbles surpassed my own. Her father laughed when I praised his daughter and called this acquisition an “important life skill.” I replied, “well, if you consider self-esteem, determination and being able to show off to other kids to be valuable, then, in a roundabout way, blowing bubbles is indeed an important life skill!” If you can look past its simple appearance, you can see that gum may indeed be a therapeutic medium; a platform for an array of collateral benefits. Plus, it’s just plain fun. by Bronwen Black

Woosh Vol 1.1

Laugh Track My name is Sam, and I smile because I have no idea what is going on, although sometimes I smile because I do. I smile because I am grateful, and I smile because it feels good! Most of all, I smile because the more I smile, the more reasons I find to keep doing it. Over the years, there has been significant research to suggest that smiling has therapeutic benefits. A smile is not only an expression of happiness, but it can also trick our brain into feeling happy. Not only that, people who witness others smiling, are more likely to adopt a cheerful outlook to life, and see the cup as half full. They’re also more likely to smile themselves! Louis Armstrong once said, when you smile, the whole world smiles with you. He may not have been that far off. But how DO we turn that frown upside down? Here are some ideas and some ways to get started: Read Some Jokes – Whether in good taste, or poor, a joke can really kick start some positive vibes. Bake Cookies – Smell is the only sense that immediately translates into an emotion. Think about it. How can you not smile when you smell or taste a delicious cookie? Find great recipes later in this issue! Be Grateful – How many things do YOU have to be grateful for today? Talk In a Silly Voice – There’s a reason Kermit the Frog and Elmo are so popular! Make a Funny YouTube Playlist and Watch it With Your Kids – What better way to use technology? Try Laughter Yoga – Yup, it really exists. It sounds awesome. Hang Out With Your Kids, and Keep an Open Mind – Kids say the darndest things, and have some great ideas if we take time to listen! I leave you with one last question: Does a winning smile help you win, or does it mean that you are winning because you are smiling? For future issues, please submit jokes, ideas to smile to and/or funny pictures to by Sam Pathirana

It’s Cold! Three Fun Things To Do In The Winter 1) Stay in by the fireplace and bring out the board games! 2) Make a DIY bird-feeder, then head outdoors to hang it up! 010/03/diy-bird-feeders/ 3) Pick a partner, sit across from each other, and draw each other’s caricature!

by Helen Hoang

Caption Contest What is happening here? We have no idea. Send your best caption for this photo to and we’ll figure it out together. The author of the best caption we receive will win an incredible prize!

Woosh Vol 1.1

Love Yourself First I believe that Self-love may be the greatest and most important gift you could ever give to yourself. However, for so many people, loving ourselves fully (from the inside-out) is not so easy to achieve. Often, we think that loving ourselves first is “selfish” or “self-centered.” The reality is that the more you love yourself, the more you can truly care for others without resentment and with an open heart. Especially if you are a caregiver, you must not forget to take time for yourself; to re-energize. If you do, you will have more energy for yourself and for those you love and care for. You may also find yourself happier and much more pleasant to be around! What do you do to nourish and care for your body, mind, and soul? There are many ways that you can learn to love and care for yourself. Here are some ideas and suggestions to get you started: • Care for your body by eating healthy food and exercising regularly. • Treat yourself to something, perhaps a pedicure/manicure, a massage, a facial, or (if you are like me) a red velvet cupcake (all in proportion ;)) • Enjoy a night out for dinner, go dancing, go to a movie, or go to a bookstore to scope out new books for your collection. •Take a bubble bath with your favourite book or enjoy a warm shower. • Have a nice cup of hot chocolate in your favourite chair, or a glass of wine while reading a magazine. Creating self-love and self-esteem takes continuous practice and dedication. Many of us have built-up thoughts, beliefs, and negative self talk that does not serve to nourish our body, mind or spirit. We are very harsh inner critics, and for what? What if instead of being our own worst critic, we chose to become our very own best friend? Impossible?, I say not! I myself, have committed to this friendship and work to nourish it everyday. Here are a few ways that you can start to nourish your inner spirit and that wonderful you that you truly are:

1. Take some time to think about the person you want to see in the mirror. I suggest you write down a list. Take 5 minutes every day to repeat the qualities that you wrote down, whether you believe them or not. Just do it! You may find that you start to believe what you say. For example: “I am beautiful, I am successful, I am smart, I am confident, I am healthy, I am energetic, I am worth it, I am powerful, I am loving, I am caring...” Let the list go on. 2. Write yourself a love letter each week, thanking yourself for all that you have done throughout the week for yourself and for those you love throughout. Write the letter as if it is your best friend writing the letter to you. Be free to compliment yourself as much as you can! 3. Read these lines, from one of my favourite poems, entitled “I Am Special”, by an unknown author. I find beauty and comfort knowing I am

rare, unique, and special. Here I share with you a quote:

I’m Special. In all the world there’s nobody like me. Since the beginning of time, there has never been another person like me. Nobody has my smile. Nobody has my eyes, my nose, my hands, my voice, or my hair. I am special.

by Paula Demay

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing you will be successful.” Albert Schneitar Woosh Vol 1.1

Take Five for Twenty-Fives 25 squats 25 lunges 25 sit-ups 25 push ups 25 bicycle sit ups 25 mountain climbers 25 jump knee tucks No equipment needed! Just a space on the floor, some pumping music and five minutes of your time! Grab a family member or friend and get ready for a state change! For a full blog post, please visit

Ask OOSH Dear OOSH, I have so many goals that I am trying to focus on all at once, and it is becoming overwhelming. I don’t know if I should keep trying to work on them all at once or if I should just work on them one at a time. What do you think?

OOSH Says:

I get this question often. I recommend you focus on one goal at a time. This focus will make for quicker results and maximize your motivation as you see progress happening quicker. These successes will provide momentum to start on the next goal.

Parent Perspective: Family Time My husband works in the oil field. He is away for weeks or months at a time. Of course we all miss him, but luckily we can talk to him on the phone. My son struggles with severe autism. When we ask him if he wants to talk to his Dad on the phone he usually says no. Occasionally he says yes but after a few seconds he pushes the phone away. My son doesn’t really get the chance to connect with his Dad because he either doesn’t really understand the phone or he doesn’t prefer talking on the phone. When my son was 12 both my husband and I had iPhones. We decided to talk using FaceTime, where we can both see each other while talking! I showed my son the phone and when he saw his dad saying hi to him, he began kissing the phone and smiling at his Dad! Both my son and daughter sat with me the whole time I was talking to my husband. It was a very special family time for us.


The Power of Visuals When in doubt, use visuals! You know how they say “a picture is worth a thousand words?” Well, it’s true! Not just in the typical way that we interpret the old saying, but in other ways, too! Think about this: does your child have difficulty following directions? Do you feel like you have to repeat yourself over and over again to get him to do one simple thing? Does it go through one ear and out the other? Well, many children have difficulty with auditory processing (understanding what they hear) and/ or difficulty with working memory (remembering what they hear long enough to follow through with the direction given to them verbally)...especially kids with Down Syndrome, Autism, and kids with other developmental delays. If you provide a child with a picture (or pictures) of what you would like him to do, his ability to remember the instruction (and then follow through with it) increases greatly! As a parent or caregiver, you may still give them the verbal instruction, but pair it with a picture next time you would like your child to follow an important direction. By doing so, you will reduce the stress on your child’s auditory and working memory systems, which will lead to more success with following directions! by Andrea Fragomeni Woosh Vol 1.1

Parent Perspective: Positive Behaviour One of the most frustrating things I found in being a parent was noticing how often our primary communication with the children was to point out the things they did wrong. As a father of two boys (one with ASD and one without) it was disheartening for all of us to spend so much time finding fault and correcting mistakes. It could sometimes cloud our relationship and it felt like I was being more of a jail guard than a parent. Our involvement with the Qi Creative team changed all that when they introduced us to their philosophy of positive behaviour reinforcement. We worked with the team extensively and they gave us direction to first to establish the behaviours and actions we wanted our boys to take. We had spent so much time on identifying the things we didn’t want; it wasn’t obvious to the boys what we did want. So, with the guidance of Jon Rivero, our family embarked on a twopart exercise. The first thing was to identify the 5 key rules we wanted the kids to follow – things like choosing a good attitude and listening the first time. We posted these five rules all over the house to remind us all of what they were, and then secondly we spent the next few months as parents actively looking to find times when the kids were following those rules. We stopped looking to correct bad behaviour, and started instead to look for, and to reward positive behaviours and following the clearly defined rules. The results were amazing! We saw each boy gradually start to follow the rules, and they were delighted with the positive reinforcement they received from us. The mood of our entire household changed, and our relationship improved because they were seeing us as a source of positive reinforcement. The good behaviours drove out the bad behaviour simply by force of repetition and reinforcement. This lesson was pivotal for us and I would recommend it for any family, and for any relationship. The keys are being clear about expectations, and then relentlessly recognizing and rewarding success.


Snacks To Make You Smile

Woosh Vol 1.1

The Power of One One minute can change a life. One idea can change the world. One person can inspire another person. One smile can brighten someone’s day. One village can raise a child. One world, one love. Tip: Take one minute to think of something that you are grateful for in your life. This boosts spirits and focuses on thoughts that can empower you to be, do, and have your best in just one minute.

by Jonathan Rivero

Contact Us Email: Give us a call for more information: 780.554.8745 Join the conversation on Twitter: @QiCreativeInc Celebrate with us on Facebook: Qi Creative Inc. Learn more at:

Š All Rights Reserved, Qi Creative 2012

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