Host a School Based Therapy Showcase at Open House

You could invite parents, teachers, and students to your school based therapy showcase to check out all the assistive technology and adapted equipment that is available for students.

Have you ever considered hosting an occupational and physical therapy showcase at the school where you work?

You could invite parents, teachers, and students to your school based therapy showcase to check out all the assistive technology and adapted equipment that is available for students. It would be perfect to host on Open House night or a professional development day.

Share your Expertise and Equipment Ideas

When therapists hop in and out of classrooms and homes they only see a slice of that child’s life.  Parents and teachers are with the children many more hours in the day, therefore, offering the most insight.

When you stop to think about it, parents and teachers may not know what is even available especially along a continuum.  For example, perhaps a student is using some simple adaptive equipment like a slant board.  There are many different slant boards available along with many homemade versions.  Perhaps if a parent or teacher spots a certain feature of one versus another for a student, that will trigger an idea of what would work best.

The same could be said for other equipment including bigger equipment such as wheelchairs or standing frames.  Therapists tend to recommend equipment from a medically and educationally based perspective of what the child needs but don’t always take into account the perspective of the parent or teacher.  If they are not on board than we all know the equipment usually does not get utilized (understandably so).

Suggestions for Your School Based Therapy Showcase or Open House

Here are some suggestions for your school based therapy showcase:

1.  Have an afternoon or evening where you exhibit any adaptive equipment or assistive technology and its uses.  Separate areas of the room perhaps by handwriting tools, technology tools, adaptive equipment, and larger equipment.  Make sure information is available for what each tool is used for.  This is great for IEP planning for the following school year.

2. Take pictures of everything so that you can send the information to parents and teachers who are unable to attend.  Even better, create a binder of what is available for parents or teachers to “check out” of the therapy department to review at their leisure.

3.  Provide a demonstration of certain tools – explain why certain pencil grips are chosen, demonstrate word prediction programs, demonstrate different walkers, etc. Explain the benefits and evidence behind certain sensory-based tools.

4.  If you have loads of equipment to showcase break it up into different nights, therefore, parents/teachers can attend when they are interested in the topic.

5.  Review any programs you may be using with your students to encourage self-regulation skills, handwriting, coordination skills, etc. and provide parents and teachers with handouts or supplemental materials to help the students outside of therapy sessions or consults.

6.  If you do not have time to host an actual showcase, how about creating some poster presentations to leave by the room.  This will inform teachers and parents what is available as they walk by.  You could have different themes each month.

7.  Love the idea of a showcase?  Invite local vendors to bring wheelchairs, standing frames, orthotics, computer software, etc.  Advertise it well and you would get attendees from other communities including therapists.

8.  Take it one step further and make it a fundraiser.  Do you need money for an adapted bicycle, iPad or handwriting program?  Set up your showcase and ask for donations at the event.

Occupational and physical therapists have so much information to share that just can not occur during a 30-minute session.  Start thinking outside the box to provide educational insight for all members of the special education team.

Need School Based Therapy Handouts to Share at the Showcase?

The Busy Therapist Bundle

The Busy Therapist Bundle includes 7 digital download packets of handouts covering a wide array of topics for school-based occupational and physical therapists.  The bundle includes over 100 handouts to give to teachers and parents.  All of the titles are PDF documents and will be available immediately following payment.