A network to share best practices for children with special needs
For many years I gave workshops around the country training therapists who were newly employed in a school-based setting. One of the keys to this transition from a medical to an educational model involves the concept of seeing the child in his/her natural environment. As therapists trained in the medical profession, we are often used to seeing clients in a hospital or clinic treatment room, and setting goals and objectives for each discipline (PT, OT and/or Speech). Originally, as a new therapist to the school system, I practiced this similar model - pulling students out of class and seeing them for OT specific goals. In this pull-out model, my "treatment room" was often a storage closet, the stage in the cafeteria or the library. As my experience in the educational model grew, along with changes/reauthorization to IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) the concept of moving from a medical pull-out model to an inclusive educational model became a more practical, efficient and rewarding way of working with students that required therapy services. Now best practice tells us that school-based therapy may look more like the following:
Providing therapy services in these types of natural environments ensures better carryover of the skill, promotes better collaboration between teachers/therapists, supports transdisciplinary goals and empowers both the teachers and the students in becoming more successful.
How do you practice therapy services in your school? Tell us your suggestions!