Monday, May 6, 2013

Therapists Learning from Teachers

School based occupational and physical therapists can learn so much from teachers.  We may know lots of information on fine motor skills, gross motor skills, visual perceptual skills, sensory processing and coordination but we are lacking in many other educational traits.  Watch, oserve and learn from teachers (pushing in for therapy services offers this opportunity).  Here are what I consider the top 5 things school based therapists can learn from teachers:

1.  Use a plan book.  Teachers are required to have their lessons planned in advance.  Therapists should try this idea.  I plan for the next session for a student(s) the week or night before but I do not always write it down.  You can download a therapy lesson plan form at 

2.  Group management.  Teachers are amazing at managing large groups.  Therapists frequently only have 1 student at a time.  Watch and observe how teachers manage large classrooms.  If they can manage 25 students at a time we can certainly manage small therapy groups.

3.  Recording grades.  Obviously we do not have to grade assignments but checking annual goals more often than on a quarterly basis is important.  Teachers record grades and correct homework to make sure a student is progressing satisfactorily.  Make sure your therapy students are progressing towards their annual goals in a timely manner by checking those goals at least biweekly.

4.  Progress Reports and Report Cards.  Teachers will frequently send home progress reports if a student is not performing as well as can be expected.  If a student is not making satisfactory progress towards his/her therapy goals do you let the parents know before the quarterly reports come home?

5.  Have a back up plan.  Do you ever notice that good teachers seem to always have a back up plan?  If the class unexpectedly finished an assignment early they always have an extra activity planned and ready to go.  Sometimes it is a traditional fun game or it is the next assignment.  Therapists should have back up activity ideas if a student reaches the goal quickly, loses interest or fatigues.

What is your favorite lesson you learned from a teacher?

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