Looking for a fun way to advocate for occupational therapy, celebrate the profession, and share the fun of OT? Today, we have a free occupational therapy word search to fill your therapy toolbox!
Free OT Word search to celebrate what we do as OTs
If speech therapists work on language, physical therapists work on the lower half of the body, do occupational therapists work on the upper half? Not exactly. We not only work on the upper part of the body, but occupational therapy works on everything else needed to be independent.
That is a big job!
Your “occupation” is everything you do. Your occupation is more than just a job. It could be a student, mother, father, firefighter, accountant, child, caregiver, or a combination of several roles.
Occupational therapy addresses everything it takes to fill your roles. Because we have such a big job, Occupational Therapists have the entire month of April to celebrate and share what we do!
Here are easy occupational therapy month ideas to celebrate the profession of OT.
Free OT Word search
One quick way to advocate for the profession and to celebrate all that we do is to use several tools like the occupational therapy word search free PDF to advocate for our profession.
Students and young learners see the OT coming in and out of classrooms all day. They probably have no idea what the OT does.
They know students like to see the occupational therapist, and sometimes they get to use cool tools and fidgets. The occupational therapy word search highlights some of the basic ideas about occupational therapy to get the discussion started.
An entire conversation can be started about different types of pencils, pencil grips, handwriting, and the importance of good letter formation. Another conversation may revolve around goals for occupational therapy. Use the occupational therapy word search to build a treatment plan.
Occupational Therapy Word Search Treatment Plan:
- Bring all of the items found in the word search to demonstrate what each item is and how it is used
- Build a hallway obstacle course to work on sensory processing skills for all students
- Use this Blank Word Search Template to make your own OT month puzzle
- Make sensory bins, play dough, putty, or slime to demonstrate the sensory effect these have on the body
- Create a lesson plan using visual perceptual activities to further build on this OT word search
- Create a slideshow or video about occupational therapy
- Make students disabled for a day so they can feel what it is like to need help
- Laminate all of the occupational therapy month activities to create centers in the classroom
- Incorporate Disability Awareness month into your OT month planning
- Hand out fidgets to take home, so students can feel part of this special group that gets to see the occupational therapist. Amazon has several (affiliate link) low cost fidgets for handing out in bulk.
A word about fidgets and other accommodations, and an interesting experiment.
There is a lot of misconception about fidgets and other accommodations used by OTs in the classroom. I can’t tell you how many fidgets have been taken away from deserving students, because the teacher did not understand what they were for. They just saw them as toys.
Educate the students you are working with, along with all other staff members about the importance of these “tools”. Fidgets that are used as toys are not serving their purpose.
Fidgets in the wrong hands become toys. This is the reason fidget spinners got a bad name. In the wrong hands they became ninja stars, conversation pieces, or distractions.
In the right hands they are amazing tools to be used discreetly under a desk to provide input while the student is trying to focus on the lesson being taught, or sit still during an endless circle time.
On to the interesting experiment…
I was working in a private preschool, seeing two young boys in the same class. The other students were very interested in what I was doing with their friends each week. I brought in deflated beach balls for each of the students to use as wiggle seats.
I simultaneously presented a fine motor task. Within ten minutes, all of the students except the two boys I had been seeing for OT, were playing with the beach balls. They were throwing them around the room and waving them in the air. The two boys? They were sitting very quietly on the beach balls doing the fine motor task.
What started out as a teachable moment about the role of OT in the classroom, turned into a real life demonstration about the use of accommodations.
This added weight to my theory that the children who needed the accommodations would use them properly (perhaps with a little teaching in the beginning), while the other students would see them as toys, because they did not need anything extra to do their work.
Whether you celebrate OT month using activities like this occupational therapy word search, or doing your own social experiment on the nature of young children, spreading the word about what OTs do, and dispelling misconceptions is the goal.
Talking about OT might spark some questions about how teachers, caregivers, and other team members can help their students.
The OT Toolbox has great tools like this OT Materials Bundle to use in therapy sessions to promote the profession and to celebrate the materials that we use every day in therapy. It’s an advocate tool that builds skills…very much the way we as therapy professionals build skills in the very occupations that we are working to develop!
Free OT Word Search for OT Advocacy
Want to add this resource to your therapy toolbox so you can help kids thrive? Enter your email into the form below to access this printable tool.
This resource is just one of the many tools available in The OT Toolbox Member’s Club. Each month, members get instant access to downloadable activities, handouts, worksheets, and printable tools to support development. Members can log into their dashboard and access all of our free downloads in one place. Plus, you’ll find exclusive materials and premium level materials.
Level 1 members gain instant access to all of the downloads available on the site, without enter your email each time PLUS exclusive new resources each month.
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Victoria Wood, OTR/L has been providing Occupational Therapy treatment in pediatrics for more than 25 years. She has practiced in hospital settings (inpatient, outpatient, NICU, PICU), school systems, and outpatient clinics in several states. She has treated hundreds of children with various sensory processing dysfunction in the areas of behavior, gross/fine motor skills, social skills and self-care. Ms. Wood has also been a featured speaker at seminars, webinars, and school staff development training. She is the author of Seeing your Home and Community with Sensory Eyes.
Working with kids in occupational therapy sessions? This set of Occupational Therapy Materials Bundle includes 13 activities and resources to promote the profession using therapy supplies and themes.
Incorporate OT supplies like sensory tools, adapted materials, and therapy supplies to work on functional skills in school-based OT or outpatient clinical therapy settings.
As a bonus, you’ll also get 8 articles to help occupational therapy practitioners develop as a professional.