Sunday, May 24, 2009

Finding Independence in the classroom.

This year, a wonderful reading teacher opened up her classroom to me allowing me one of my favorite classroom corners. I have learned so much from her just from being in that classroom this year. Often we have the same students on our caseload and we have found a mutual tool that has worked well for many students. It is easily affordable to access and implement. One of her big challenges with a small classroom of students is that many of the students needed individual attention to work on reading strategies- yet couldn't work independently on selected tasks to allow for the differentiated instruction in the classroom. Of course, the OT goals were focused on increasing functional skills, improving academic independence as well foundation technology skill development. We have found that a membership to website has been a very useful tool for many of our students. I am in 5 different schools this year and have shared it now with almost 4 different classrooms for kids in grades 1-11 with varying reading levels and abilities addressing many different individual goals. It is another educational technology tool that I have added to my bag of tricks. There are also some nice content books to introduce lessons. I've also used some of the books this year in sessions while working on body awareness, some social skills, feelings identification as well as overall functional problem solving and choice making. The one thing that would make this site better... is a possibility for accessibility features such as the inability to click out of books until completed, the option of not showing the arrow key to advance until the reading is completed, and an option for scanning for my switch users. I love that it is an online service with constant upgrading.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Accessible Phones

This week, one of my clients was looking for an phone that he could access using a switch. We called our state organization ATEL, which is a program supported by the RI Department of Human Services. ATEL stands for the Adaptive Telephone Equipment Loan Program.

My client is currently trying Dialogue RC-200 Remote Control Speakerphone w/Remote Answer

It is very easy to use and program. The phone is able to be answered by voice, has switch capabilities with a remote as well as wired and there is an option to pre-program phone numbers. Although, my client uses a particular head switch- we were able to figure out a way for him to use the standard remote with a little creative positioning. I was excited to see how quickly it was to access the equipment and my client was especially happy that he was able to make a phone call, complete the application, make an appointment, get training and TAKE THE EQUIPMENT HOME all within a three week time period! Thank you ATEL for this program! Oh, did I also say that at this time there is no cost to qualifying individuals? What a great service. They have a variety of available equipment for loan.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I think May is one of the busiest months for School Based OTs

Well, I'm sorry to say that it has been almost an entire school year before my last post. I again ask all of you fellow bloggers... when do you find the time? Thank you to all of you who post regularly and share all of your work and ideas. I have enjoyed reading them. Meanwhile, as a school based therapist of a system that ends in June- May is incredibly busy. Meetings, Meetings and more meetings. One thing I have tried to do more in my family meetings is focus more on the strengths of my students. Often it is a relatively easy thing to do and the rewards have been positive in many ways. The other good thing about the meetings is that as a professional and team member- it does get you planning for the future. I guess being so busy also energizes me about my work. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited about the summer break being so close, but it is also exciting to see all the positive changes and growth with many of my students. I also like collaborating with my team members as we plan programs for the next school year. Personally, I am going to try to post a little more than 2x a year. Like so many good occupational based routines... I need to develop a schedule and set a few goals. To all of you coming to the end of the school year- Enjoy!