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Career Story: Occupational Therapist At An Elementary School

Occupational Therapist At An Elementary School

Job Title: Occupational Therapist

Education: BS in Occupational Therapy from Boston University

Previous Experience: I worked as an occupational therapist at a children's hospital.

Job Tasks: I work in the public school system with students who are in grades kindergarten up to fifth grade. I am part of a special education team which includes a reading specialist, speech and language pathologists, physical therapists, classroom teachers, psychologists and behavior therapists.

The role of the occupational therapist is to work on fine motor skills, visual motor integration skiils, postural stability, handwriting skills and sensory integration. I work with students both on an individual basis and in groups. I also go into the classroom to work with classes as a whole. I spend many hours evaluating students and coming up with treatment plans. I work with the parents as well in order to promote that home skill connection. The goal is to facilitate a child's best performance in the classroom. As an occupational therapist I provide the classroom teacher with classroom accommodations to help make learning as stress free as possible.

I sometimes provide a student with adaptive equipment and special writing utensils that fit their individual needs. The team meets on a weekly basis to discuss progress and set realistic goals. Each child has their own unique learning style and I am able to adapt his or her educational setting to promote their needs. I also look at a child's ability to organize themselves and stay focused on specific tasks. I can provide a child with stratagies so they can implement these on their own. When indicated I consult with outside professionals who are working with the families as well.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is working with the children and watching them improve to be the best they can be. The other wonderful part of working in the school setting is being able to work with a team of professionals who always have the ability to contribute to the treatment plan in their areas of expertise.

The worst part is the paper work.

Job Tips:
1. Spend some time thinking about what population you want to work with and take time to observe other therapists in a varity of settings.

2. During school make sure your program allows you to work in clinics under the supervision of a licensed therapist so you get hands on experience.

3. Start studying early for your boards.

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