I am re-reading an OT textbook, Occupational Therapy for children and adolescents, 7th edition. I feel like doing jumping jacks and turning cartwheels because occupational therapy is such a great profession! =)
Of course, I started in chapter 25 Transition to Adulthood, written by some of my transition heroes! Note these important statements regarding the role OT needs to play on the transition team for our students.
Occupational therapy is included as a transition service when the transition team determines that occupational therapy can help the student access, participate in, and benefit from his or her specialized education and transition services.
The occupational therapist’s positive, future-oriented view of students combines a commitment to student-centered services, collaborative team-work, and achievement of performance and participation outcoming, making him or her a valuable addition to a student’s transition team.
Importantly, occupational therapy outcomes completely align with the intent of IDEA and the goals for student participation in work and community, as defined by the transition team.
Occupational therapy, when added to the mix of transition services, can make a real difference in the lives of young people when goals and dreams include some combination of post-high school employment, community living, further education or training, economic self-sufficiency, and social connection (Cleary, D., Persch, A., & Spencer, K., 2015, p. 728)
As an OT in secondary-school, some of my students have needed support in practicing completing job applications (online and on paper), addressing their organizational skills, increasing activity tolerance/attention skills to ensure task completion, learning to follow a job-task visual schedule, improving functional money skills, improving motor skills identified as necessary in an activity analysis, developing soft skills for employment, and the list goes on.
That may even include practicing to personalize a signature to sign their IEP or job application when appropriate! Some students have job-coaches that take them off campus to work sites (I do not have that privilege yet due to my work schedule on campus!); their job-coaches and I may discuss what skills are difficult for them on site and I work on some of those skills at school. There are so many possibilities and needs to address with the students, to help prepare them to transition onto their next life role. Occupational therapy has such broad scope that it is possible to support the students and their teams in identifying and addressing a variety of these needs. Goals are identified for students’ transition services section on their IEP; sometimes the student and his or her team would benefit from OT support to assist in addressing those goals to enable success. What an exciting role to have, to work with the student and his or her team to help achieve their hopes and dreams!
Cleary, D., Persch, A., & Spencer, K. (2015) Chapter 25 Transition to adulthood. In Case-Smith, J., & Clifford O’Brien, J. (Eds.). Occupational Therapy for children and adolescents, 7th edition. St. Louis, MO; Elsevier, Mosby.