The Four "C"s of School-Based OT
When an adult is asked "What do you do?" the typical answer includes a description of their job or profession. But how do children respond when asked the same question? More often than not, a child will respond with answers such as "go to school", "play with friends", "splash in puddles", or "draw a picture". That's because for children, activities ARE their occupations!
With that in mind, it's important to note that in order for occupational therapists to help individuals better engage in the activities of daily living, we first need to understand what those activities are. Considering that school-based learning is the primary occupation of children aged 4-18, it follows that the best environment for OT intervention is at the individual's school.
As someone who has spent considerable time working with children in a scholastic environment, I can attest to benefits that school-based intervention can provide. From developing skills in a real-life environment to enhancing convenience for parents and teachers, school-based programming provides an opportunity for a collaborative approach to problem solving at a convenient location and in a comfortable environment. To better explain the benefits, below are the what I've termed the four "C"s of School-Based Occupational Therapy:
Four "C"s of School-Based OT:
School-based OT allows for the most authentic representation of a student’s occupational challenges. It allows therapists to analyze the student in the natural context in which the problems occur. For instance, understanding why a child might be acting out in class might be directly linked to where they sit in the room. Maybe they're too far away from the chalkboard? Or maybe they're too close to the door? Maybe the light above their desk is giving them headaches? The list goes on... At the end of the day, unless you can put yourself in the shoes of the student, it's difficult to provide interventions that are effective. In sum, working with the child in the context in which the problem occurs is one of the main benefits of school-based OT.
Meeting a therapist for the first time can be intimidating. This is especially true for children with special needs. By providing OT services in the school environment, students receive therapy in a setting that is known and familiar. Working in the school with familiar people and materials helps students to relax and stay calm, especially when working with someone new. This allows the therapist to build a rapport more quickly and provides a realistic representation of how the student interacts with their surroundings.
School-based OT provides an opportunity for optimal collaboration between teachers, families and therapists. It allows all three groups to work together and more easily share observations and ideas about a given child. Moreover, it's proven that collaborative consultation with parents and teachers is not only a critical component in maximizing therapy effectiveness, but studies have shown that collaborative consultation between therapists, teachers and parents results in significant gains in productivity goals for the child.
Between appointments, school, errands and work, there are few hours for therapy. School-based OT is not only an extremely effective method of delivering therapy, but it's also a convenient one. Therapy sessions occur before, during, or after school, making it easy for parents or caregivers to organize their schedules around sessions.
If you're interested in setting up an appointment or simply want to learn more about Monarch, call or email me today!