Remote learning is our new way of life these days due to COVID-19. Since this all started, the idea of "pushing in" to the classroom has been on my mind quite frequently. Over the last two years, I worked diligently to get to a point where I was collaborating with staff/teachers and pushing-in to the classroom on a daily basis. Since remote learning started, I kind of feel alone on an island and everyone is trying to get their job done. I'm sure this is because we were scrabbling in the beginning and it was very new territory! Now that we are getting more comfortable with a routine and new learning is happening here in NY, I thought about what a push-in could look like for my students. I personally feel like I could make a stronger effort to collaborate with teachers, give input on assignments, join more classroom Zoom meetings, etc. To get the ball rolling, I sent out this email to the parents of my students yesterday. I hope to move forward with this more in the incoming weeks.
OT Check in!
I think it's important to remember the big picture during times like this!
Reminder: The goal of OT is to INCREASE your child's FUNCTION AT SCHOOL! Depending on the situation, I want your child to be able
to write without discomfort, write legibly, cut with scissors, pay attention for an age-appropriate amount of time, and regulate their emotions using strategies so that they can participate in academic tasks. The goal is NOT to give you extra things to do.
I know that I have been sending you OT activities twice per week since the schools closed. These are activities that can develop your child's skills. However, did you know that OT can also be provided in 2 other ways:
OTs can modify the classroom tasks to compensate for the areas that they are struggling with. For example:
by teaching them how to type they can compensate for poor handwriting legibility.
by giving them extra movement breaks in between working on challenging subjects they may be able to pay attention better.
OTs can also ADD modifications to the classroom tasks to allow them to PRACTICE the OT skill more REGULARLY. For example:
if they are playing a matching game, we could ADD tweezers to pick up the pieces (to strengthen their fingers).
if they are writing and we ADD a darkened line to the bottom of the paper, they may be able to remember to keep their letters on the line.
instead of pre-cutting the shapes for them, we can ADD scissors to the activity so that they can practice cutting skills.
Just by adding these modifications, your child is getting OT more frequently than pulling them out of the classroom 1-2 times per week to work on the tasks outside of the classroom. In fact, when we are at school I often PUSH-IN to the classroom to this! Sometimes it just takes looking at the academic task with "OT eyes" to be able to modify it. I do NOT always play a new game or create a new activity in order to work on the task.
This week there has been an increase in the amount of work that teachers are providing. I'm sure many of you are overwhelmed and I understand that. So why can't OT "push in" to the tasks you are given by your child's teacher?
I will continue to send you two emails per week, but if you would like to learn how to EMBED OT into what you are doing, we can work together to make these modifications! OT will not look as "obvious" but know that your child may actually be getting more out of this because they are practicing these strategies daily WHILE they are working. Remember the phrase "practice makes perfect?" Well, repetition of the same task is often more beneficial than giving them a new activity twice per week. Keep in mind, that I also may need to meet more frequently with your child's teacher to learn about the assignments and how to modify them.
Please email me if you are interested in taking this different approach.