Celebrating OT Month
Flexibility, Creativity, & Resilience: A positive formula for student success
By Kelly Myerson, Senior Occupational Therapist
Taking a deep breath and clicking on to GoToMeeting, I smile. I’ve got a session with a special young man.
“Hi, Kelly,” his cheery voice greets me on the computer screen. We both adjust our screens and postures to meet each other’s eyes and the fun begins!
A year ago, this exchange would have happened in the classroom door at P.G. Chambers School. We’d walk together to our therapy space and set about working on fine motor, visual motor, and other skills side by side.
Today we’re face to face and we’ve faced the challenge of converting what we do onsite to the context of a screen.
“Are we working on typing today?” My student asks. I nod and share my screen and he accepts access to the keyboard and mouse.
“Are you ready?” He gives me a big thumbs up and begins following the prompts on the screen to type sentences.
Just a year ago, he was still learning to find the letters on the keyboard. Today, he’s typing with increasing speed and accuracy.
It’s only one of many signs pointing to the capabilities of our students. Over the past year, our students have impressed us with their flexibility and perseverance. We have learned to use technology to our advantage! We have also cultivated stronger relationships not only with our students, but with their families or caregivers supporting them on the other end.
“Way to go buddy! You just scored 96% accuracy on those sentences!” I beam with pride knowing how diligently he has worked during our sessions.
“Thank you, Kelly.” He leans over and calls out to his mom, who’s always nearby for support if needed. “Mom, I got 96%!”
We’re celebrating every win with our students. Their newly secured skills become ways in which they can develop true independence. As our students develop great independence more doors begin to open for them when they move on to the next grade level, high school, and beyond.
“If you ask me, the teamwork is my favorite thing about P.G. Chambers School,” says occupational therapist, Samantha Mangravito.
Samantha shared a student success story. She and speech therapist, Arlene Sklow, coordinated for a co-treatment session for one of their students to work on his head switch and eye gaze to develop his own goals for 2021.
They took it a step further and included the rest of the team – physical therapist, teacher, and case manager – in another session. Each team member then had a clear picture of the student’s capabilities and how to best support him virtually.
Although this past year has been challenging at times, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Many of our students are back on site at P.G. Chambers School and our students’ capacity to change has been inspiring. They are coming out of telehealth with new tools and skills, which will serve them during school and therapy on site.
My student and I finish up a word search on the shared computer screen.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, Kelly,” he waves and then reaches for his mouse to click and log out of the session.
I smile and wave good bye feeling so grateful to witness his growth and enjoy his company.
You ARE TERRIFIC! I ACTUALLY FELT A SENSE OF PRIDE FOR THE STUDENT AND HIS TYPING SKILLS (AND I HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THAT SUCCESS!). hE’S LUCKY TO HAVE YOU AS A THERAPIST, kELLY.
I have seeN the DEDICATION of all the TEACHERS in person pre-covid, and what
Amazing things you dO now VIRTUALLY
Brings that DEDICATION to a new level.