Monday, November 1, 2010

School Therapists Navigating the Economic Climate

My name is Scott Russo. Working as an OT in the school arena for the last 11 years, I thought I had encountered every challenge that faced the itinerant therapist. However, in today’s economic climate, the job of delivering effective therapeutic treatment to students as an itinerant school therapist has developed new challenges.

In the past the main therapeutic delivery challenges facing the itinerant therapist have centered around 1) Lack of space on the school site 2) Difficulty with access to the student during the academic day and 3) Lack of access to the teachers and support staff for carry through on goals.

Today we can add to that list decreased budgets limiting the amount of therapeutic tools that can be utilized. How do we provide effective service with these challenges? I’d like to explore two possible solutions.

Flexibility in Service Delivery

Different models of service in the schools such as push-in therapy (therapy delivery in the classroom during normal activity) or in-class consultative models (working directly with support staff for classroom modifications or accommodations) prove to be effective methods to combat the space issue, the difficulty with student access, and the lack of access to the classroom staff. These methods also allow the therapist the opportunity to observe and treat students during their normal functional activities.

Creativity in Equipment Use

Because it is not always possible to change the delivery model, the most essential therapeutic tool an itinerant therapist can possess is creativity. The question then becomes, “What is in your bag?” This was one of the first questions asked of me when I assumed the role of professional consultant (for which I am compensated) with Achievement Products.

The answer, particularly when budgets are tight, led me to the following criteria:

Items in your bag should be

1. Motivating to the students
2. Inexpensive
3. Able to be used in multiple ways to meet multiple goals
4. Portable
5. Reusable

With those criteria in mind, here are two new products to “fill your bag”.

Progression Therapy Sets
Achievement Products has developed two new “Therapy Sessions in a Box.”
With the Progression Therapy Fine Motor Set (AP79602) and the Progression Therapy Visual Motor Set (AP79601), the therapist will have a box full of creativity. Each box contains enough activities to fill a 30-minute therapy session complete with guides on activity ideas. The sets were developed to provide maximum flexibility in therapy delivery at an affordable price.

The Fine Motor set contains a white board which will cut down paper cost and save precious “bag space,” while providing opportunities for writing and drawing with and without lines. It also contains six tubs of ever -flexible and ultra-motivating scented dough for limitless therapy options

Both sets contain come in sturdy storage boxes, which serve the portability need of the itinerant therapist, and contain books with reproducible activities providing multiple use options.

What is in your bag?