Archive for the ‘Occupational Therapy’ Category.
An OT student asked if going into school-based OT advisable straight out of school, saying “a couple people have warned against this because it requires a certain level of autonomy as a new practitioner…” Here is my answer:
I’m in my 6th month of working school-based, straight out of school. To survive, you certainly need to have some supports. I had school-based fieldwork, I chat often with a close family member who works in special education, and I’m working part-time. I still yearn for more supports. There are a lot of moving parts… a wide array of pediatric conditions, parents, assessments, reports, the variable school environment, multiple campuses, IEP meetings, never enough time in a day or resources. Be prepared to not be prepared. That said, it can be done if you have the supports. If I didn’t have my supports, it would not have worked.
At the end of my SNF fieldwork, I felt like I almost had it down. At the end of my school-based fieldwork. I didn’t feel nearly as competent, partially because of the particular experience I had (ask me about it privately) and partially because the job is more faceted.
What is a reasonable workload for a school-based occupational therapist? What percentage of time should a school-based occupational therapist be seeing clients vs performing other duties?
There are few guidelines or rules to answer these questions. That makes it especially difficult for a new occupational therapist who is working in a district on his own (like me). Here are some thoughts and datapoints for you on the subject:
From the AOTA Workforce Survey (I think the data is from 2014), “How OT Practitioners Spend Their Time in Different Settings”
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction created a guideline document in 2016. I found it here. You can find a local archive of it here: Workload-document-and-formulas.2016. This creates a formula to determine workloads for occupational therapists and speech-language pathologists.
Another useful source is the OTSalary.com site. It is billed as “The only open source OT salary survey designed by and for OT practitioners. Knowledge is power.”
Scheduling for school-based occupational therapy. I bought the Caselite software ($20/month) and it’s helping to reduce my stress over scheduling. It’s still a dynamic environment with multiple changing variables, but it feels more possible to manage it now. I’m not sure if I’ll buy a 1 year license ($179) but I’m glad I have it right now. I knew I needed to look for outside help when every one of the the 2 SLPs, 2 Resource teachers, and 2 SDC teachers all got crazy eyes and told me their woes when it came to scheduling.