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A Pediatric Perspective

Workload vs. Caseload in School Based Practice

Published April 16, 2012 4:35 PM by Cecilia Cruse
This past week I attended and lectured at the Council for Exceptional Children Conference (CEC) in Denver CO.   Once again I am humbled and awed by the work that our general and special education teachers do on a daily basis for students with special needs.  As I met these professionals from around the country and answered questions, I kept thinking how so much of what we know and do as pediatric therapists can be so helpful to all teachers and students, not just those in special education.  Also, as a former school therapist, I know that much of my time helping students on my caseload was not during a 1:1 or group therapy, but instead considered "on behalf time" such as adapting a piece of equipment or in-servicing a teacher's aide.  Observing the throes of teachers this past week embracing these concepts makes me an avid supporter for the position AOTA has been advocating:  That we need to transform the concept of having a caseload to a workload to better serve the needs of our clients...which includes the student, the teacher and the parent.  You can read more about AOTA's position here.  When implemented correctly, this approach allows us to expand our OT skills and expertise beyond just the individual students we serve as part of an IEP/IFSP.  I look forward to the day when school based OT's are used as system wide consultants for all education.   Let me know where your school practice stands along this continuum!

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