My Special Needs Network

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As we wrap up this month's topic on teamwork and advocacy, I started to reminisce on my own experiences as a therapist and how our perceived roles may sometimes interfere with more effective teamwork when serving our students with special needs.

Years ago, when working as a clinic therapist in a busy outpatient unit of a children's hospital, I had a 10 year old patient recovering from a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). I recall wanting to discharge this child from his outpatient OT services when I learned he was getting therapy services at school...thinking in my box that these services were the same.

It wasn't until a few years later when I went to work in the schools, that I learned that the educational model for school-based therapy is a related support service designed to help the child meet his/her educational goals and objectives, and not a primary service designed for rehabilitation.

Once I learned to think outside my previous box as a clinic therapist, I think I became a more effective interdisciplinary team member and watched as students progressed faster in this team model of working together rather than separating out each discipline. I have seen parents sometimes take on the role of adversary of their child's school system, or teachers that are not open to having different team members work in their classrooms. All of us at times get conditioned in our perceived roles, but know that for effective teamwork and advocacy on behalf of our children and students we all need to learn to think outside the box!

Tell us your story about thinking outside the box!

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