Happy Holidays to all my subscribers!
2023 was a very good year! Sequoia School-based Solutions had the opportunity to present to a variety of districts and audiences this year, both in person and by Zoom. I have to say that being in person makes a big difference for me as I can “read the room” and address concerns or questions as they arise or appear in the participants. Favorite topics this year were (1) engaging in difficult conversations and addressing conflict, (2) using the Determination of Relevant Tool (DRTT) to align staff service decision-making, (3) participation-focused practice, (4) dosing concepts and (5) working with students with severe and complex disabilities. I continue to offer all these topics; I can personalize any school-based topic to any district and or group interested. All it takes is a Zoom discussion to address practice concerns the group wants targeted, and I can create a presentation/online seminar and tools that are specific to that group.
I continue to love helping school therapists work through difficult cases and move clinical reasoning to a participation focus. I can help with goal writing and making service decisions as well as crafting interventions embedded within activities and or routines of the classroom. Individual sessions as well as session packages are available on the website – we Zoom together and meet your needs through discussion and the resources I provide.
As we enter 2024, and as an experienced and seasoned school-based provider I leave you with some sage advice as you pursue best practices – those supported by research and our professional organizations:
1. Approach all your students from a participation/occupation perspective. It aligns with the IDEA and ensures educational relevance. Use an ecological approach that focuses on the activities and routines that all children are expected to do as the foundation for your assessment. You can add other tools as you see fit once this is complete. Check out the different ecological assessments you can use on the Sequoia website.
2. Develop relationships with all team members – including parents/caregivers
/guardians. Qualitative information from teachers, paraprofessionals, and others on the team can lend itself to a more thorough understanding of challenges your students may have meeting classroom/age-appropriate expectations. It can also help you with the design of intervention strategies and teaching skills the way the student learns. There are a variety of interview tools on the Sequoia website for purchase. Always a great first step in assessment!
3. Consider using a clinical reasoning tool such as the DRTT to assist with your frequency and duration decision. The tools provide a consistent approach to dosing and help explain how you came to your decision. The DRTT is available on the website.
4. Understand the laws that guide your practice as well as your practice act and professional code of ethics. They can help you when you are faced with a difficult situation or discussion.
5. When there is disagreement with your services, don’t get into a tug of war. Go through the process of explaining your PLAAFP as well as your support of supplementary aids and services and goals. Sequoia offers a tool to assist goal writing as well as a guide for writing PLAAFP and tool to assist with supplementary aids and services decision making.
6. Lastly and make these your New Year’s resolutions: (a) Do not say “qualify” for OT and or PT. Students qualify for special education and related services; the student’s need for OT and or PT is a team decision based on the IEP. And (b) do not use the word “treatment” – it implies you are fixing the student. Focus on participation/occupation using evidenced-based strategies such as goal-directed and or task-oriented approaches with environmental enrichment.