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Occupational Therapy & Complex Learners

How Occupational Therapy Helps Complex Learners Thrive

Occupational Therapy and Complex LearnersWalk into any classroom at The Wolf School and you see a dedicated team of professionals working together to deliver our innovative learning technique – the Immersion Model©. This team made up of a special education teacher, a Teaching Assistant, a Speech & Language Pathologist, and an Occupational Therapist, all bring specific skills and abilities necessary to teach Complex Learners.

As we say goodbye to April, we want to end our celebration of National Occupational Therapy month by highlighting the incredible work of our OTs. The Wolf School’s OT team – made up of Kelly, Alicia, Becca, Kristi, Priscilla, and Lise – plays a critical role in the success of our students.

Our OTs help Complex Learners succeed in their learning environment by targeting the students’ emotional, social, and physical needs through identifying, adapting, and empowering!

  1. Identify

Occupational Therapists are skilled at identifying a child’s abilities and strengths. OTs are then able to match a student’s ability with the demands of a lesson – setting the student up for success.

For example, if a child struggles with staying seated at his desk for a lesson, an Occupational Therapist might incorporate a physical movement component like rolling on a peanut ball to help build core strength and stability so the student is physically ready for the seated portion of the lesson.

  1. Adapt

Instead of expecting Complex Learners to fit into a set mold, Occupational Therapists excel at helping to adapt the environment, activity or tool to best fit the child. This allows our students to function as independently as possible.

This might mean adapting a child’s schedule to include visual tools to help them work on time management; or moving to a large whiteboard to practice cursive with markers so the student is able to work on handwriting while using a writing tool that provides less resistance than pencil and paper – making for a less frustrating and more successful experience!

  1. Empower

By teaching our students the strategies and tools they need to succeed, our Occupational Therapists empower them and play a key role in setting them up for future success! Occupational Therapists help students learn what their bodies need in order to learn, while also developing an understanding of their own learning style.

This can be seen when students ask for a movement break because they recognize their body isn’t ready to engage in a lesson, or when they utilize voice-to-text applications to help them successfully write that final paper.

While this blog just briefly touches upon the incredible work our Occupational Therapists do, there is no doubt that they play a meaningful role in our students’ lives by helping our students thrive! So, to our incredible Occupational Therapists at The Wolf School and the amazing OT’s everywhere – thank you for the unbelievable work you do! Happy Occupational Therapy Month!

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