Tips for school based Occupational Therapists
School based occupational therapists often try to make the most of their time. Staying organized and concentrating on the task at hand, while providing service to the students is a unique challenge that many occupational therapists are faced with. Planning can help you stay on top of the session schedules, as well as keep you prepared for the unexpected. Here are some tips for school based occupational therapists in order to have a productive school year:
Make the most of Technology
When you’re using an iPad or similar device to take notes, make use of the dictation feature to save time. If this isn’t possible, or speaking aloud isn’t appropriate, invest in an attachable keyboard, which may make your work speedier and more accurate than finger typing on screen. Try latest apps that are specifically designed for notes taking.
Adopt the 2-minute Rule
If there is any item on your to-do list and takes less than 2 minutes, DO IT NOW! Tasks such as answering an email, returning a phone call, responding to a colleagues, etc. which can be taken care of quickly, should be done so. This helps you cut down on task backup, helping you accomplish more in small increments through the day.
As an occupational therapists, the relationships you develop with teachers, para-professional, and other special support staff will be your greatest asset. When you have a good rapport with your colleagues, it can help support your student goals. Make sure you ask the teachers about their perspectives on students and classroom environment, before making recommendations.
This will rarely go as per your plan. Sessions, schedules, recommendations, reports, meetings – everything has a chance of going haywire despite diligent planning. Remember that things are in a constant state of change. In order to keep your sanity intact, don’t fight the change – embrace it and just go with the flow.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
It is totally normal to feel overwhelmed and lost during the start of a new school year. Ask for help where needed. Ask the teachers about the particular students that you are observing or working with. No matter what the questions, don’t be afraid to ask them.
Always remember that school-based occupation therapy is about addressing educational areas of need, not medical need. They can be two very different things. Just remember that as school-based OTs, you are supporting their areas of need as it relates to their education. This will help make most of your time and give more benefits to students in need.