While blended learning seems to makes sense in so many situations, it still may be a little difficult for educators, parents and students to imagine what online occupational therapy looks like and how it works effectively. In theOnline OT is described and many lingering questions are answered:
- What is online occupational therapy?
- Does it work for all students?
- Why do schools decide to use online OT?
- What do schools need to make it work?
- What skills are possible for students learn through online OT? and more…
A huge benefit for receiving online OT is that students are in their native environment, where they are most comfortable, open to learning new skills and more apt to taking risks. Durning online occupational therapy, a licensed therapist is delivering services in a video conference, with a webcam and headphones, and sometimes even required manipulatives, like balls, play doh, etc. The students participate in the therapy in real time and, in some cases, with the assistance of a paraprofessional.
Online occupational therapy helps schools address therapist shortages, allow for flexibility, decrease travel time for both the therapists and students and reduce student distractions while lessening missed classroom time.
has found that online OT gives an unique opportunity to reach students in rural communities, children whose schools cannot meet their educational needs, children with multiple/complex mental or physical health impairment, children with immunity disorders, children who are in transition, and military families. Still, PresenceLearning recognizes the limitations online OT might also present. When deciding whether or not to go the online route, it’s advised to consider: attention span, ability to follow directions, cognitive, behavioral and motivational factors, physical and sensory issues, functional communication, and availability of support services.
The ebook outlines many reasons why schools could turn to online OT ranging from broadening the access for students to providing more flexibility for the occupational therapists themselves. Schools most likely already have access to the equipment needed to provide online therapy for students. PresenceLearning lists computers with internet access, a webcam, microphone and headset is all that’s needed to get started.
The list of skills that students can develop through online occupational therapy is exciting- not only exciting, but easily conceivable. Starting with fine motor skills, stability and endurance training, postural control, including social skill and attention training all the way to auditory processing – the list is long.
Online OT enables schools to get anytime/anywhere access to OT services and has a numerous amount of benefits. The ebook from PresenceLearning can help schools who are considering implementing such services make a more informed decision. Also, all interested will have the opportunity to hear about 5 specific cases of online speech and occupational therapy from the therapists themselves in a live SPEDCast happening on January 9, 2014. to find out how online therapy benefits students.
PresenceLearning is a Getting Smart Advocacy Partner.