These hacks for productivity for occupational therapy professionals are easy ways to make your life easier. School based Occupational Therapists are busy bees! The jobs of a school based OT are many: supporting academic, lunchtime success, development of skills needed throughout the day, social skills development, math, reading and writing (i.e., literacy), behavior management, recess participation, participation in sports, organization and executive functioning skills, self-help skills, prevocational/
vocational participation, transportation, and more.
One of the biggest strategies to improve productivity is organization for the school based occupational therapist. The ideas listed below are designed to help with organization in order to help the school based OT through their day.
Productivity for occupational therapists
Most school based OTs have a full caseload that involves several or many school buildings within a school district and/or a variety of school districts. Each building has it’s own schedule, lunch times, special events, and holidays that must be tracked.
Within each building, the students who receive therapy services have a schedule of classes, special scheduling needs, and teacher preferences that require specific scheduled OT treatment timing. parents, school principals, and other professionals have input into therapy scheduling as well.
Scheduling for the school based OT is a yearly nightmare of charts, calendars, lists, erasers, and crumbled papers.
Once schedules are finished, it’s time to begin treatment as each week and month brings new intervention minute requirements. However, there are school delays, special assemblies, and sick kids to keep in mind. Fitting make-up times into those already jammed schedules is a continual round of nightmares!
Some school based OTs are lucky to have a designated space to house all of their supplies, tools, charting, and supplies. Others need to cart their intervention from school to school and work from the trunk of their vehicle as they think ahead to the needs of that particular day’s student needs. Then they drop their supplies at a hidden desk in the stairwell and make their way through the schedule, pushing into classrooms, intervening in gym class, or addressing needs in the lunchroom or playground.
The school based OT’s day is never the same and always changing.
With all of these scheduling, planning, equipment, and space issues that interfere with productivity standards, any hack that makes us more organized can help!
These tools for productivity may help keep the school based OT organized and on track for a successful school year.. They are intervention strategies, productivity ideas, and generally tricks to help the school based OT get through their day in an easier way.
Tools for Getting Organized as a School Based OT
Organization Tricks for the School Based OT A therapist who travels from classroom to classroom or building to building needs to stay organized! Try these tricks to stay sane.
Use Google Drive to create folders for each student as a way for students to save multiple documents to a folder in Google drive.
Create an organized caseload list and adjust to fit workload with time for consult services.
Create tracking tools for therapy attendance, contact information, assessment dates, consult records, daily and weekly schedules, school contact information (secretaries, teacher extension numbers and emails), equipment records, data sheets, goal sheets, etc. Use Google Docs to create record sheets that meet specific needs.
These Google Sheets Caseload Management, Lesson Planning, and Data collection were made for SLP, but they could work for the OT, too.
Printable Sheets for the School Based OT:
Create a file of regularly used printable sheets like:
Tools for help the school based Occupational Therapist with monitoring goal achievement:
Amazon affiliate links:
Using Rubrics to Monitor Outcomes in Occupational Therapy -Improve Critical Thinking and Clinical Reasoning by Adding Rubrics to Assess Goal Progress with this book to improve data collection methods and documentation style with teachers in order to enable concise development of the IEP and goals targeted toward the student’s individual needs.
The book provides rubrics but also shows how to design your own for improved organization planning and data collection. When annual review time comes around, goal progress is also easy to report.
Also check out our blog post on handwriting rubrics to support handwriting goals with data collection.
Sensory Strategies for the School Based Occupational Therapist:
Provide parents, teachers, and paraprofessionals with this Sensory Processing Disorder information packet (free printable)
A Buffet of Sensory Interventions provides solutions for older children in middle school and high school age ranges. The book emphasizes the importance of fostering independence, self-advocacy and self-regulation in a period of growth that transitions into adulthood.
Free Sensorimotor Classroom Activities (free printable)
Handwriting Tools for the School Based Occupational Therapist:
Handwriting Speed Norms by Grade Level
Keyboarding Speed Norms
The Ultimate Free List of Printable Adaptive Paper
Google Chrome Extensions for Struggling and Special Needs Students
Activities for Handwriting Problems– Tons of creative ideas to work on handwriting skills
Additional Information for the School Based OT:
Colleen Beck, OTR/L has been an occupational therapist since 2000, working in school-based, hand therapy, outpatient peds, EI, and SNF. Colleen created The OT Toolbox to inspire therapists, teachers, and parents with easy and fun tools to help children thrive. Read her story about going from an OT making $3/hour (after paying for kids’ childcare) to a full-time OT resource creator for millions of readers. Want to collaborate? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.