Launching only a short three months ago in October, OTSchoolHouse.com has already been a tremendous success in our opinion. We have received feedback from so many of you and nearly over 300 of you have subscribed and downloaded our Gray-Space paper. More than 400 of you follow us on Instagram and still others follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
For that, Abby and I are immensely appreciative of each and every one of you! Thank you for your support! It means the world to us.
Going forward, we of course want to continue to bring you more stimulating conversations and information you can use at your school sites. But before heading into 2018, we wanted to take a moment to recap what we have learned in our short three months since starting this project and also what you can expect from us going forward.
So let’s start with the 3 things we have learned thus far on this adventure.
1) This project that we have embarked on is possible to maintain.
Abby and I both work full time in a district in southern California. As you know, work never stays at work. We work 7:30-4 and work follows us home after that. However, we set aside Tuesday evenings and at least one other day to put in time toward the School House. While time consuming, this project has given us new life at our "day job" and we could not be more happy when we get to work on a new blog post or other project. We love putting our thoughts out there and hearing back from you all.
2) Although titled the “OT School House”, We have more than just OTs and COTAs interested in what we have to say.
My goodness, yes! We have had teachers (general and special education) PT’s, BCBAs, Speech Therapists, APE teachers, and others subscribe and read our content. Many want to know how they can work with OTs to helps their students. It’s great to see that professionals in other spheres value our opinion and want to team up with us. Call us bias, but we feel that OTs can be an integral part of many IEP teams and other school site planning committees.
3) We have an active reader base that is hungry for more information.
For any of you who have reached out to us, you know how much we like to talk and work out problems with you. Whether on facebook, instagram, email, or twitter, we love it when you take a minute to chat with us. This is how we know not just OTs are following us, you all have told us. Even some of the teachers in our own district have found us online and stop us to talk at the school site.
What we are hearing from you!
Your comments and feedback are helping us to shape the direction of the OT School House. So, we wanted to let you in on the top three questions you have asked and the ideas we hope to cover in the coming year.
1) What is RTI and how can OTs and other educators use it on a daily basis.
This is one of our main focuses on the website and we have heard from many of you that are starting to use RTI in your schools. One thing about RTI that makes it so special is that it takes a team and that is why we look forward to talking to experts outside of OT to discuss this topic with us. If you want to talk RTI, we would love to hear from you. Email us now!
2) Many COTAs are asking for content geared toward COTAs in school based OT practice.
Alright COTAs, we hear you! And we want you to know that you can absolutely partake in RTI. In fact a few weeks ago, an previous colleague of mine who is a COTA convinced her site administrator to purchase the HWOTears.com Mat Man for all of their preschool classes. Now, she is working with the teachers on how to use mat man in a variety of ways. That was really cool to hear.
We also know how important communication is between an OT and a COTA and will be focusing on this topic in the coming months from both the OT and COTA perspective.
3) And finally, many of you expressed your concern for the lack of consistency in our field across states, counties, and even neighboring cities.
This right here is a huge problem. It is why we made our map of OT guidelines and it is one of the many reason why we want to continue the OT School House project.
Right now we have a long term goal of improving this and breaking down some of the barriers that cause this, but for now we are going to try and take one small conversation at a time. Who knows, with your maybe maybe we will get there. Please help us by sharing us on twitter, facebook, Instagram, or via email. That is how you can help to unite OTs and other special education providers.
Thank you for taking a moment to share us.
Looking back at the last 3 months, we find it amazing that you all have had so many of the same concerns that lead us to start this site.
We know our concerns are also your concerns and we want to address these as we look forward to 2018.
With that said, here is what you can expect from us this year.
1) Continued stimulating blog posts geared toward all special educators.
We absolutely look forward to continue posting content 2-4 times per month. Topics we want to focus on are RTI, legal IEPs, Collaboration between providers, and evaluation and daily treatment documentation. We feel that these are areas that can be utilized by OTs, COTAs and other educators of all types
2) A podcast with a mixture of “solo” episodes and interview episodes.
The podcast is in production and we are only a few weeks from our first episode - “Putting Occupation Back Into OT” I won’t say too much, but this title isn’t just in reference to treatments. There are many ways that we can assist in schools without treatment and we hope to help you discover these ways.
We will be hosting two types of episodes. One type will be “solo” episodes which entail Abby and I discussing a hot topic such as difficult IEPs or treatment planning for instance. Other episodes will feature an interview with someone we work closely or another person who is making a difference in the school based OT and special education world. We have an entire year’s worth of interviews already lined up with people who we know you will benefit from hearing their stories. We can’t wait to bring this to you!
3) A course on tiered interventions (RTI) and how to incorporate successful interventions through collaboration with other educators.
This here is our newest project. While just an idea plotted on workflowy (a free tool we use) currently, we will be bringing this video based course to you this summer so you can start implementing RTI based strategies with your colleagues when the 2018-19 school year gets started. Don’t worry, we’ll be there to guide you through it with pre-recorded and live video sessions as well as handouts that you can use to get up and going.
Be sure to subscribe to get the heads up when the podcast and class are ready for you.
Man, I’m excited! After writing that last paragraph, I can’t wait to finish up this post and get back to work on 2018. I hope you are excited to hear more from us and I hope you know how much we appreciate your support.