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OTS 139: Fostering Autonomy through Child-Led Therapy


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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 139 of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.


Ever wondered about the transformative power of child-led methods in creating inclusive and empowered learning environments for students with special needs?


Dr. Amy Coopersmith is here to share with us how students receiving special education experience occupation deprivation and the important role of child-led decision-making and planning in occupational therapy.


Through her own personal examples and strategies she shows how these approaches can help foster independence and self-advocacy ultimately unleashing these students' potential.


Tune in to hear more about many strategies such as the use of choice boards, self-monitoring, and the "Captain Me" program.



Listen now to learn the following objectives:


  • Learners will understand the significance of establishing a least restrictive environment for children with disabilities to enhance their autonomy and learning opportunities.

  • Learners will identify the importance of educators and occupational therapists actively listening to children, aiding them in formulating personal goals, and distinguishing between internally-driven and externally-imposed objectives to foster independence and empowerment.

  • Learners will explore practical strategies for engaging children in decision-making, planning, and goal-setting within occupational therapy sessions, aiming to cultivate self-determination and independence.



Guest(s) Bio


Dr. Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L; MA Ed, is a self-determination advocate with over 30 years of experience as a pediatric occupational therapist and teacher.


As a school-based therapist in New York City, she worked as a clinician, evaluator and supervisor serving over 100 schools.


Amy noticed that the child-led teaching methods she used during her years as an educator made a big difference in children’s lives.


She implemented those ideas as an occupational therapist and found that children made faster progress and demonstrated greater motivation and engagement using these methods.


Author of the Self-Determination Strategies Toolkit and the Captain Me program for young children, Amy strives to teach practitioners and educators how to implement evidence-informed strategies to promote children’s autonomy.


Amy earned her doctorate from Temple University in 2022, and she continues to present at national conferences, mentor practitioners, and develop new materials to translate research into effective practice



Quotes


“IEP goals are important, but what's most important is that they understand goals that are important for themselves."

-Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed


“We need to be aware of ways we can help boost their confidence and help them achieve some level of competence at things they're good at, so that they have a positive experience with learning.”

-Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed


“When they create today's plan. It's their plan, they own it. And so I think that's a very powerful message to the child.”

-Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed


"Boredom allows students to become more advanced in their imagination, and their imaginative play.”

-Jayson Davies, MA, OTR/L



Resources




Episode Transcript

Expand to view the full episode transcript.

Jayson Davies   

Hey there, and welcome to episode 139 of the OT schoolhouse podcast. Thank you so much for being here. But even more importantly, today, I want to thank you for taking what you learn in the OT school health podcast, and putting it in to action. I recently had the opportunity to meet some of you all at occupational therapy conferences, both here in California and in Colorado. And it was just awesome. What I loved most about that was that while you all loved OTs Coolhaus podcast so much, you didn't come up saying, oh my gosh, Jason, I loved episode 38. Or oh my gosh, Dr. So and so it was awesome. Or oh my god, Jason, I just love everything you say it was more about? Jason, thank you so much for this, you've allowed me to do this, some of you have moved to a workload approach. Some of you have began getting into the classroom and collaborating more, some of you are just simply getting into school based OT as a result of listening to the podcast. And that is what matters so much to me. And when I hear that, it just makes my robe like I love hearing that. You're not only listening, but you're actually taking action. So just thought that was so cool. And I just want to thank you for listening. You're the real MVP, right? Like, I'm here sharing some of this, but you're the one actually out there, putting it into action. All your kids, all the teachers, everyone on campus, you're the MVP to each of them. So thank you so much for listening. But also thank you so much for putting it into action. All right, onto today's episode, I think you'll agree that every profession has its own language, right? Call it what you want niche terms, jargon, whatever it might be. Every profession has its language. Teachers use terms like curriculum standards, grades, behavioral referral, things like that. Bankers use terms like underwriting liquidity and hedging things that I still barely understand. Every profession has jargon. And of course, occupational therapy is no different. And that jargon becomes even more specific when we niche down from occupational therapy as a whole to school based occupational therapy. You know, we may use words like fine motor, visual motor praxis, vestibular, proprioception, sensory, eye, hand coordination, motor control, right? These are all things that you probably say, on a daily basis. But there's a lot of terms out there that maybe we should be using a little bit more, because after all, these two are pillars and facilitating independence during school and beyond. Some terms that I'm talking about here are occupational justice, self determination, empowerment, and autonomy. Luckily for us, I found the perfect person to come on and talk a little bit about these terms. Today, I have the privilege of introducing you to Dr. Amy coopersmith. Amy has over 30 years of experience as a pediatric and school based occupational therapy practitioner in New York. And prior to that she worked as an educator, so she knows a thing or two about supporting students. Amy will share a little bit about her experience in just a moment. But today, Amy is here to share with us how students receiving special education services experience occupation deprivation, and how using a child led methodology can support student autonomy and self determination. That way they can begin to harness their independence and advocate for themselves. So let's go ahead and cue that intro. And when we come back, we're going to talk about some of the things that are limiting occupational justice within our students and how we can support self determination to promote student independence. We'll be right back. 

 

Amazing Narrator   

Hello, and welcome to the OT schoolhouse podcast, your source for school based occupational therapy, tips, interviews and professional development. Now to get the conversation started. Here's your host, Jayson Davies. PLAs is officially in session. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Amy, welcome to the OT, schoolhouse podcast. How are you doing today?  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

I'm great. And I'm so happy to be here with you.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, you know, we've been connecting a few times over the last month to month now. And it has just been a pleasure to get to know you. And I'm excited to have you share a lot of your information with everyone who listens to the OT schools podcast. So thank you for being here. 

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

 Yes. And I'm excited to because as you know, this is my favorite topic, and I'm looking forward to our discussion. 

 

Jayson Davies   

 Yeah. And you know, part of the reason that we originally connected was because you have this inspiring program called Captain me. And you know, we may get into that a little bit. It's not the exact reason we're here today. But I think that's just so cool that in your current journey, where you are right now in your OT, your OT world, your OT career, you've taken this chance to create something not just for other occupational therapy practitioners, but for students and that's exactly what we're going to be talking about today is helping students with self determination. So before we get into that, I want to give you an opportunity to kind of share a little bit about yourself, and maybe not all the ways you got to where you are today, but kind of where you are in your OT journey.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Sure, I guess it was about 30 years ago, I started working as a teacher of health and physical education. And I used a child led approach, it was what I was taught as part of my graduate degree. And I noticed that the students responded amazingly, that these were sometimes troubled youth and very difficult neighborhoods. And they were middle school students who are kind of known for being oppositional. And they were so motivated, and I'm all of five foot two. And some of them were, you know, six feet tall with mustaches. And I sometimes wondered how that experience was going to go. But because I was giving them a chance to leave their own learning, they really pursued that with a vengeance, and were very motivated and engaged. So fast forward 10 years, when I became an occupational therapist, I started using the same child lead techniques. And I found that the children were again, very, very motivated, very engaged, really focused on the purpose for their being with me during our sessions. And then when I became a supervisor, I noticed that other people were not using these techniques. So I said, Well, I'm the supervisor, why don't I share it with them. And I started giving workshops and having other occupational therapy practitioners try out these techniques. And they all reported back with case studies and experiences, where children who were previously not engaged, they were disengaged, and not really getting with the program, all of a sudden, they were excited and motivated to be there. So that was the beginning of my journey. And now, fast forward another 20 years. So I no longer work in the schools directly. But I've started giving workshops and programs, such as Captain me, because what I find is that people all want to do this, everybody wants to try and have children lead their learning it we know that's best practice, it's client led, that's what we were all taught to do. The question is, how, how can people fit that into a 30 minute session. So that's why Captain Mia was born. That's why some of my other programs are have you know, have been created to make it easier for OT practitioners, and streamlined and efficient to work it into one's daily life.  

 

Jayson Davies   

I love that. That is you said something really key there. You know, we all know that child led child driven type of therapy is the right way to do it. But we're not necessarily explicitly taught how to do that. So I'm excited. Maybe we can dive into that. Just a little bit today.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Sure. 

 

Jayson Davies   

 Yeah. So as we get going here, you know, I think you've shared with me in the past a little bit about some research, and I'm sure you'll bring it up today. But you've shown the research, or I should say research has shown that children with disabilities have fewer opportunities in school to gain independence and self advocacy skills compared to their peers. Why do you think that occupational injustice exists? And what has some of the research concluded?  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Right, so it's absolutely something that has happened for years, but it's become much more crystal clear, more recently, that this is occurring. And I did some research as part of my doctoral studies. And what I learned from all the readings I did is that there are a few factors and there's probably more, but I'm just going to tell you what I found out, which is there are three things. helicopter parenting is a big problem. Special ed reform is also a problem. And also busy, hectic life and academia pressures, those kinds of things in schools. So those three, we've got the academic high academic standards, the helicopter parenting that I mentioned, you know, these are huge areas that our problem. So I'll go through each three of the three if that's okay with you.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah. And I think sports also plays into that. But yeah, go ahead.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Right. So I'm in no particular order here, and there's no hierarchy. It's just these three factors all play into the learned helplessness and the deprivation. So first of all, special ed reform. Special ed reform is something that actually some of the younger OT practitioners might not even be so aware of, because it's been around for a while. Oh my goodness, at least 50 years. But I'm old enough to know what it used to be like, which is when children were in specialized schools, and they were separated from their general education peers, and there was just very little interaction among the different children who had different needs. So, now a lot of neurodiverse children are included in the main mainstream education setting, which is a great thing, this is what we want it, what the problem is that some people didn't anticipate some of the side effects, some of the other factors that were going to arise out of that. So one of the things that happened, and many people might relate to this is that there are paraprofessionals, or teachers aides, who help children kind of keep up in the school setting, because they're now in general education classes, or they are in collaborative teaching where some of the children are considered Gen Ed and some of them have special needs. So they're in these settings where they have to keep up. So to keep up these aides are assisting children. Sometimes they're over assisting children, and they actually do the work for them. And then that's just been, you know, when I've witnessed that, I get almost horrified to see that the the aid is doing all the work for the child. So when that happens, the message we are giving the child is that they're not capable. And so the deprivation that's happening, there is all children struggle when they learned child struggle, when I learned even to this day, at my age, when you're learning something, there's a learning curve, and it takes a while. But when we take that opportunity away from the child, because we're helping them all day long, they never have that experience of what it's like to work towards something and struggle with it a little bit, and then finally achieve it because somebody's doing it all for them. So there's actually not a lot of research in this area. But the research that I have found, Kansas State did some research on it, and noted that this was a big problem, that when these teachers aides and support professionals are coming in and helping, sometimes they're taking away opportunities from the child to learn.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, so and I've seen that too, in the schools and before we move on to the next ones, and maybe you're not even quite ready to get there yet. But I want to ask you about faith plans, because I don't think schools put faith plans in place enough when we are putting a one to one eight in place, or maybe a small group Aiden plays. And I mean, I'll be straight up in IEP is I've kind of said, Okay, if we're gonna put this person in place, what's the end game here? What are we actually aiming for? Because I think that's what's missing a lot of times when a paraprofessional is put in place for a student,  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Right, and to me, but we always talk about the least restrictive environment, we want children to be in that least restrictive environment whenever possible. And in my opinion, having a paraprofessional or a teacher's aide, sitting next to a student is the most restrictive environment, because they are blocking the child from so many opportunities to interact with their peers to make their own mistakes and learn from them. You know, all of these things are not happening. And so yeah, I there are no fake plans in my setting that I'm aware of. The only thing is each year at the IEP meeting, they reevaluate. And also, in my experience, parents often don't want to let go of the teacher's aide or paraprofessional because they believe that that's what's keeping their child in that general education setting. And they're afraid, and I have so much compassion. I know how fearful I had a child who had some special needs when you know, she's an adult now, but I know how scary that can be to think that your child may struggle and suffer. And so you want to give them all those supports. The problem is too much support ends up being a problem. So, yes, and the fake plans, in my experience do not exist.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, and that's absolutely what I see. It's not often we have a paid plan, it's often that I will bring it up. But that doesn't necessarily mean that it ever actually gets put into plays. And I just feel for especially the parents, right, like the student doesn't necessarily know better, but I do feel for the parents who know that they're going to show up to an IEP and be told, Hey, we're going to take away your child's one to one aid, or we're going to evaluate to take away your child's one on one aid or we're not blank. Parents are often blindsided at an IEP about this and we could go on a whole nother podcast about talking about that. But yeah, it is what it is right now and it's something that definitely needs to be addressed. So, before we move on to the other Joe, when asked in relationship to special education reform, was there anything else you wanted to talk about?  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Well, I think I covered it in a nutshell. I just think that I want to stress that I don't think there are there any people out there that are trying to harm children. I mean, the the paraprofessionals that I worked with, were just stellar. They were wonderful human beings. And even, you know, if I look at across the board at the teachers, the school administrators, that he's trying to help children, the problem is there's so many pressures coming from other areas, that sometimes it becomes overwhelming. And people take the easy path, which is to help the child and I'm putting up air quotes here, help the child because sometimes they really need the help they need is to struggle a little and figure something out themselves.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah. Or at least have a service that's going to help them do something as opposed to do it for them. And from the occupational therapy perspective, if you're in this situation, I just want to say, you can support that paraprofessional II mean, you may not be able to put the faith plan in place on your own, you may not be able to take off the paraprofessional off the IEP. But you can support that paraprofessional to better understand the just right challenge and to help them to help the child and a more in a way that's actually going to support the student's long term abilities as opposed to just helping them get their spelling test done today.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Right. And, you know, our long term goal with these children is for them to have a wonderful future. So we're not just looking at if they were able to do today's assignment, we want to see long term High School and post high school, are they able to make a life for themselves? And so if every problem is solved for them, and every assignment they do is helped in order to completion by another person? How are they going to the lesson they're learning is that throughout their life, someone's always going to come to their aid. And that's really what we don't want to see. Because that's going to hold them back in the future.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah. All right. Well, let's dive into the helicopter family. You mentioned three sped reform, special education reform, helicopter families are helicopter parents, and academics. Let's talk about helicopter families.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Right. So helicopter is actually very much aligned with what I just discussed, that this is when parents and families are hovering, they're looking out for every possible danger looking out for every possible that it's kind of being a obsessively controlling of a child's schedule. Now, this has happened for a few reasons. There are articles, over the internet, scholarly articles, books, there's actually an organization called Free Range kids, where they teach parents how to kind of let go a little bit because this is an epidemic. And part of it is the fear that is struck in the hearts of parents, when they see television news reports about horrible things that are happening around the world. So they don't want to let their children out of their sight. And when I was growing up, my mother would open the door and say, Come back when it's dark, and I didn't see her all day long. And somehow I survived. And you know, my friends, and I figured out how to get things done that we wanted to, and we managed to keep safe. But there are so many frightening news reports out there. And you just don't see parents doing that anymore. So we can't change that overnight, that whole culture that hold mindset, that's not going to change overnight. But what we can do is be mindful of it, and try to provide children with opportunities that might be missing, because parents are hovering and because there's that fear out there. So what can we do rather than just overscheduling every minute of their day, and controlling everything they do? What can we give them, you know, maybe let them ride a bike with their friend down the block to a park. And, you know, I've even heard of parents silently following and hiding behind a tree to check on their kids, but you know, at least to let them have these opportunities to know what it's like to be on their own rather than to be controlled at all times. So that, again, is something that impacts learned helplessness and occupational deprivation.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, absolutely. And there was just one thing I wanted to add to that. It's an article that I read once upon a time ago, and I couldn't cite it if I wanted to, I don't know, I could probably find it. But it's always stuck with me. And that is that we need to give children students the opportunity to feel boredom. And then oftentimes the most helpful play if we want to call play helpful is when they have the opportunity to become bored because it forces them to go through that planning process to create something new to not be bored anymore. It forces them to figure out How a ladder can be something completely different. I don't know, maybe it turns into a hopscotch board, I don't know. But anyways, boredom allows students to become more advanced in their imagination and their imaginative play. And so I just thought that that's something that kind of relates with that helicopter parenting  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

100%. And if a child never has a moment's free time, because they're scheduled for after school activities, and play dates, and all kinds of events, there never is a chance for boredom. And a little anecdote, I have a friend who was very impoverished when he was growing up, and the only toy he had was a broken vacuum cleaner. And he learned how to make that vacuum cleaner into 1000 different toys, and grew up to become an advertising executive who specialized in props and learning how to create props. Because that was what he did for his entire childhood was with this old vacuum cleaner, and it was in those moments of boredom had nothing to do you know, so it does stimulate the creativity for sure.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Wow. Amazing what childhood leads you to? It's it's quite interesting. All right, we've talked about reform and helicopter parenting and families. What about those academic demands?  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Right. So children are, as I mentioned, now included neurodiverse children from all walks of life are included in general education settings. And we know that the US government, the New York State, I'm from New York State, and all the state governments have guidelines, regulations, you know, Core expectations for different grades, and different age levels. And administrators and teachers are very aware of that. And so they are teaching to make sure that children reach those milestones. And the problem is that we know that many of the neurodiverse children that we work with, are not capable of reaching a particular mindset milestone at a particular time, it might take them longer, they might take a winding route instead of a straight path. And so those academic demands are making it difficult, if not impossible, for children to do that kind of learning that happens at your own pace, they're being pressured to hurry up and learn. And I don't know about anybody else. But when somebody pressures me to hurry up and learn something, I don't react well to that, I need to do it in my own time, and figure things out on my own. 

 

Jayson Davies   

I'm right there with you, right, like, I'm like, don't, don't try to put this false box around me, like, don't fit me into this false box, I will do what I want to do on my time. And I will try my best to support you. But don't try to fit me in this box, because that's just not going to make me want to do it. So yeah, right there with you. And I'm sure our students feel similar sometimes.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

And, I want to just throw something else in here, when I was studying to for my physical education and health master's degree, they required me to learn a new sport that I had never learned before. So I knew I'm certainly not a team sports kind of person. That's not my background. So I said, I'll try my hand at tennis. And so I signed up for tennis lessons, and it was an absolutely excruciating experience. And I've always been, you know, someone who's kind of at the top of the class, I things came pretty easily to me as a student, for the most part. Well, learning tennis did not come easily to me. And I knew that I was not a good student, I was very aware of that. And it was a painful experience. And I think that that's something that I've become very aware of that when because we have such a range of children now in one single classroom, there are going to be those children who are aware that they're not able to keep up. And that is such a painful experience for so many children. So we need to be aware that of ways that we can help boost their confidence and help them achieve some level of competence and things they're good at so that they have a positive experience with learning.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. All right. Well, that was, you know, three very important ideas, topics around maybe why students are having fewer opportunities to gain independence. talking specifically to school, we discussed how paraprofessionals can kind of be an impact to this. But what other ways are you seeing occupational deprivation among students within special education? 

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

 Well, a lot of the students who we see in special education come from difficult personal backgrounds. It could be that they're a family that recently moved to this country. It could be that they are impoverished. They could have you know, a medical condition where other kids are bullying them, there's so many things that can happen with the children who we see that are outside of what we're actually seeing in the IEP. It's just the, you know, I learned problem based learning as part of my OT training, and Problem Based Learning looked at the whole child. And when we look at that whole child, we can see so many different things that might be impacting their experience in school. There was one child who went into his classroom, they called me in because he was hiding under the desk and refuse to come out. And he was on my caseload. And I had to try to figure out why, because he was always a very, you know, friendly child. And I found out that his parents signed him over to his grandparents, because they felt overwhelmed, and they lived down the block. So he would see every day on his way to school, he would pass his old house where his parents lived. And it just got to the point where he couldn't deal with it anymore. And he hid under the desk, he just he shut down. That was it. And I mean, that's a very extreme example of what we often see in the schools. But there are so many things that can interfere with a child's ability to, you know, participate fully with their peers, and our children who we see have probably a dozen more challenges than the kids who are just in general ed, and are kind of going about their daily lives, or they might have physical things that are holding them back, I had one child who had a hemiparesis. And he wasn't able to put his chair on the desk at the end of the day, when all the other kids could. So that, you know, he was very aware, again, that there were things that he couldn't do. And so there are all these things that hold our children back from fully participating in a session. And there are things that we can do to change that story to change that mindset to help them feel better and do better.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I kind of want to, I kind of want to go off that example that you just kind of shared. And we can go off other examples to potentially as we talk, but the students that you just mentioned with hemiparesis, and not being able to put his desk up on his chair, right, like, there's two ways to kind of go about this, well, there's more than two, but the two that come to my head are a we can figure out a way to accommodate the activity, support him and getting that chair up on the desk in some way or the other is a separate opportunity in which maybe you can go through self determine not necessarily self determination, but being able to have the social skills to get help and being able to ask for help and the willingness to reach out to other people. And so I want to give you that opportunity to share a kind of which route might you go, or there's probably many right answers to that, but down that route of helping him to ask for help. Where would you go with that?  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Well, I think it's important for at one of the lessons in my captain meet program is about we're all different. There isn't a single person on this planet who doesn't have some kind of problem with some aspect of their function. Even if you look at the gold medal, Olympic athletes, there might be some area that's difficult for them. So we all have that. And I think when children are aware that it's not just them that everyone has things that are difficult for them to do, then they don't feel so isolated. And I often taught that to a whole class. So that as a matter of fact, every year for the last 20 years, even after I left the school and became a supervisor, I went back every year for Career Day. And I always went to classes and taught the children about what an OT practitioner does, and how we help everyone participate. And then they start to learn about how, you know, we do sensitivity exercises so that they understand that, you know, things happen, you might break an arm, you know, just a general ed child might break their arm, and then they have to learn how to do something one handed. And so when they start to see that this is something that all people experience, then that one child who's struggling sees that they're not alone. The other thing that I like to do is to give that child a leadership opportunity, because there's usually something that they're very good at. They're always sometimes we just don't know what it is yet. But there's always something that a child is going to be good at. And when we can give them that opportunity to shine, then the area that's difficult for them becomes less important. It's not hovering over the in their brain that Oh, I can't do this. I can't do this because they know that there's something that they're admired for that they're being celebrated for and so it becomes more of a balanced picture in their life.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah, that's great. Again, there are so many routes that you could take with that. But I think if you're empowering that student, then you're going in the right direction. So, yeah, one of the things that you talked about special education reform, and one of the things in special education for the for the past 50 years or so has been IEPs and elicit Least Restrictive Environment LRE, you mentioned that earlier, as well. How do you think even just the idea of a student having an IEP can impact their occupational justice and their ability to participate in everyday school activities?  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Well, I think that that can be a really impactful situation, it can impact them in so many ways. And I think for every child, it's going to be different, you know, it for a child who has an IEP, and then they're in there in a classroom with all children who have IEP s, it's going to be very different than a child who is in a classroom where there's only a couple and no one else does have that IEP. So I think it's just a situation where the OT practitioner can be mindful of how that child perceives themselves, and how their classmates perceive themselves and each other. So I think that when a child can take part in their IEP development, and set their own goals, which is a huge priority for me, to help children select and set their own goals, that can be a big support for all children. And that's for children without IEPs, too, that's but especially when a child has an IEP, they can learn about what is a goal, and then they can learn how to set their own goal and learn the difference between a goal they set for themselves, and a goal that someone else set for them. And then kind of analyze I mean, of course, you know, some of our children may have some difficulty with cognitive challenges. But we can help point out that, of course, the the IEP goals are important, but what's most important is that they understand goals that are important for themselves. And then when they kind of come to terms with what's important for themselves, and feel good about that, then they can start looking at their parents and teachers who are highlighting goals that they think are important. And this is one of the reasons why I love the child occupational self assessment, which is the Moho tool that's used for children to help them, you know, identify what's important to them and what they're good at. And it's such an affirming kind of assessment, because it doesn't judge the child in any way. It doesn't give a score based on what you know how well they did. It's just informing the child and everyone around them, what they find important in their life, and what they think is difficult or easy for them to do. And I think it's a great vehicle for us to teach children about the importance of finding goals that are meaningful to them.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, I want to ask Ashley, can you dive a little bit further into that evaluation, because I've always considered using the copm when it comes to helping a student identify a type of goal. I know technically, the copm I believe was kind of created more for the adult population. It sounds like, do you know I guess my question is, do you know if this is kind of a drawl from the copm? is a completely different?  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Yeah, I'm sure they're very aligned. And honestly, I'm not as familiar with the copm. I learned about it and OT school. But because I have spent 20 years working with children, I just always drifted towards the cosa, you know, the child occupational self assessment, but the Cosa is, I'm guessing I would have to look back at the copm. But it's, what they're doing is they have, it's very cute. When you look at it, it's a page with smiley faces and sad faces. And for the younger children, what they're asked to do is either to circle if they're writers, if they're not a writer, they then they can point or indicate their answer to the practitioner who's administering the assessment with them. So the main thing is we want them to be able to identify what's important, you're looking at two things. What is most important to me, and what am I good at? Okay, so if a child is good at something, and it's really important to them, that's not really a goal area because they're already good at it. And it's important to them done. We're done. With that, okay, now the next one is, if something is they're not good at it, and it's not important to them is that really something that we certainly don't want to start with that, because that's not going to be motivating. So if writing an essay is not important to a child, and they know they're not good at it, it's not a great area to start. But the area that we do want to start is when a child is very motivated, they really want to do something, and they have trouble doing it. That is a goal area that we want to focus on, especially in the beginning. And the child is asked what is important to them, and what is most important to them. So if they can find if the assessment professional finds something where the child says this is very important, or it's the most important thing of all, and it's difficult for me, that is an area, that's a great place to start for goal setting. Absolutely. And you know, there was one child, he was in fifth grade. And he highlighted to his OT practitioner, that he wanted to learn his name, address, and he knew his name, but he wanted his address, his phone number, and there was something else, I'm trying to remember his name and address his phone number. And I can't remember the third thing, it doesn't matter. It's irrelevant, but let's just start with the name and address, okay, he wanted to remember his address and his phone number. And he couldn't, and he was embarrassed because he was in fifth grade, maybe it was his email address or something. So it was some other thing. He couldn't remember these things, it was just difficult for him, he had a learning disability. And so that was what he highlighted on his assessment that he that was really important to him. And it was difficult. And so his OT practitioner made that with him, they collaborated and made that a goal, and watching him go through that process of learning it. And he was so good at it by the end. And the practitioner made him talk about why it was important to him. And I think that's so meaningful. When we can ask a child, why is this important to you what, what makes you want to do that, and then it forces the child to kind of dig a little deeper and think about why it's so meaningful to them. And to hear him talk about how when he goes to high school in college, if he ever gets lost, he's going to know how to ask for help to get Yeah, you know, something so basic, and he figured that out on his own, and it was a great thing to see.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, and you know, that's a very common goal, right to be able to identify and write down your personal information. But typically, the importance of that goal is not coming from the student, it's coming from the parent, it's coming from the teacher. And what the coasts allowed you to do was to identify that that was something meaningful to the student, which I really love, I really appreciate that. And it's something I want to look more into. Just for everyone listening, I just went to the Moho website. And this is like a $40 evaluation, I think you can reuse it. So it's very cheap, very easy to access to access, and will give you a lot of information about the student, we often talk about using a student interview for an occupational profile as part of your evaluation tool. Well, using the Cosa might be, you know, a good way to get that interview done. So thank you, Amy, for sharing that. 

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

 Sure. And I think it's important to note that the version that you usually see online has all the smiley faces, but there's another version for older students that just has words. So if you feel like it's too juvenile for some of your older students, you can, you know, access the version for older students.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Awesome. Yeah. And you're right, like you don't think these are things that you don't necessarily think about, like, even when you're trying to build rapport with the student, there is that idea behind it, that you're trying to focus on these goals that have been identified by someone that's not them. So ultimately, you can build rapport for 1015 20 minutes, three days, three weeks, but you're still going to be asking the student to potentially work on something that they don't enjoy. And so if you can, if you can get them to work on their own goals, I think that is 100% the right way to go about it. I have a question for you, when it comes to those goals? Do you tend to actually use those student goals on the IEP? Or are they a little separate? 

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

It's a tricky situation, because often we inherit a child's goals from a previous year, you know, we're not necessarily the one crafting the goals. And even if we are it might not come to later in the year. So I consider it a starting point. What I usually suggest to people is start when you're starting to build rapport with that child, let them set their first goal and help them craft the goal so that it's easy for them to achieve it. So that you know and when I say a goal, I'm not talking about an annual goal, something that's you know, within two or three sessions that they can achieve and feel good about it and have a little check off that they did it. And you usually don't need any fancy prizes when it's something that they chose for themselves. Just like we don't need prizes, when we have a goal to work out at the gym, when we do it, we just celebrate because we're so happy that we did what we set out to do. And so that's what we want to see for children. And then once they've had some experience of success, and they're feeling good, then perhaps we can look at the IEP goals with them. And say, now, we worked on a goal that you were really excited about. But we also need to look at some of the goals that your teachers and family think are important for you. So which one would you like to work on first, and let them have a voice in that process? So that it's not just someone telling them? Here's what we are working on? It's that these are the things that we need to work on together to have a successful year at school? What would you like to do first? How would you like to work on it? Where when all those kinds of factors? 

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, great. And I know, we kind of went off on a tangent on here with goals and talking about the coast a little bit. But I think that's so important when we are talking about supporting student occupational justice, like giving them the opportunity to have choices to solve problems potentially. And so I want to kind of go down that line, because I think this is part of that solution that you often discuss when it comes to occupational injustice is choices and product and choices and opportunities to solve problems. So how do you use choices and supporting students in solving their problems to support occupational injustice? 

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Right, so children in general education generally have many, many choices available to them. They, you know, when they wake up in the morning, I'm here visiting my grandchildren right now. And when they woke up, they picked their own clothing, they decided what they wanted to eat for breakfast. And if it's not what they want, they're usually quite vocal about it. But a child with a disability may have some difficulty with that, they might not be as verbal as their general education peers, they, the parents, you know, might have a lot going on in terms of trying to get a child ready in the morning. So they might have picked up the clothes for the child the night before, and dress them rather than letting the child do it themselves. And I am not judging that in any way. It's just a reality. It's very difficult for parents across the board. And then when you have a child who might have difficulty getting ready in the morning, your main goal is getting them out the door by 7:30am, or whatever time you need to leave and get them to that school program where they have to arrive. So thinking about their you know, process of choice making, and that sort of thing is not in the for the front up front part of your mind in the morning when you're getting ready for school. So what I usually suggest to parents, is let them make the choices the night before about what they want to wear, you could look up the weather report together and say, Oh, it's supposed to be rainy and chilly, what do you think would be a good outfit to wear tomorrow morning. So it being planful can help that situation, rather than the parent having to make all the decisions for the child. So it's a difficult situation. But with thinking ahead of time, and being planful, we can build in these opportunities for choice making. And the same thing happens at school. In classrooms, very often, children have assignments, and they have to hurry up and get it done by a certain time. And so there aren't necessarily a lot of choices built into their day to day life. We can't impact the curriculum, or if we can, it's very slight, because we're, you know, we're not involved in curriculum development in school districts at this point, there might be a few of us who do that, but it's a very small minority. So what we can do is we can influence teachers and school administrators, by being role models by showing them how we can give children choices by showing them how much better children do when they are provided with options that are meaningful for them. And this is not a surprise country's I'm not I'm not sure if I'm getting all the details correct, because I don't have the research study in front of me. But in Finland, they were something like number 50 Out of the 50 Western countries who were part of a research study, they were the lowest country in terms of academic achievement. And the committee in the government said we are going to do something about this and change it and they completely changed their school system. completely change the curriculum to make it child lead. And right now I'm not sure what number they are. But for a while they were number one that I think they might have dipped to number two, but they it just completely reversed the whole trend of that lack of learning that was going on. And so we know that giving children these options and these opportunities makes such a difference.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah, definitely. And I want to kind of just continue on with that a little bit, you know, the How to and as occupational therapy practitioners in the school, we work with several different levels, if we want to call it right, there's the individual student that we might work with, we might work with a small group of students, a classroom all the way up to a whole school, and sometimes even an entire district, right? For occupational therapy practitioners listening today. And they're like, Hey, I kind of want to start supporting a little bit of self determination. Starting with just like an individual student, we talked a little bit about goals, but is a one, you know, that quick win that you can provide to an occupational therapy practitioner listening to support self determination and their students. 

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

 Right. So Oh, my goodness, there's so many goodies from my little goodie bag that I could pull out. But I'm trying to think of if there was a number one thing. I, of course, you know, as I mentioned, I think the Cosa is a great place to start. One of the things that I always used to do. And this was taught to me by a fellow practitioner, and I'll tell you a little story about an interesting turn of events that happened with this. I always had children write today's plan at the beginning of every session, it was shown to me when I first became an occupational therapist in New York City, a by a colleague who mentored me, and I did it for a few years. And then I kind of stopped doing it. And I said, Why did I stop doing this? It's brilliant. So I'll just explain what it is, it's so easy. It's just a little piece of paper that says on the top, today's plan, number one, number two, number three, that's it. And then the child comes in. And in one or two words, they have to fill in those three blanks. This is of course, if they're a writer, if they're not a writer, then you want to give them choice sports, which I'll talk about in a minute, because that's my my other goodie that I'd like to share. So today's plan you want, I always would tell them, we have to do something that's a warm up activity that's going to get get us ready to learn what we want to work on and in our session together. So I would let them pick, what are they going to do. And sometimes there would be pictures on the wall. And they point to which one they wanted to do. Or maybe there was a little index card box, and they could leave through the index box and look at an activity they wanted to do. Or sometimes they just knew they had a favorite activity, they wanted to jump on the mini trampoline. So whatever it might have been, so they write that down. Or you could use a picture icon or a choice board. So that's number one. Number two is what goal are we working on. So that I use goal cards a lot with children. So they often knew right up front, the goal card they have today is working on, you know writing their letters, or it's working on, you know, if it's a child that usually child children don't pick writing their letters as their first goal. So it might be learning to play catch with their friend, something like that. So that would be number two. And then number three is something really fun that they love to do that, you know, we often think of it as the reward, but I don't think of it as a reward, I just think that we all tend to want to always, you know, do something that we enjoy. So that would be the end of their session. So those three things would be on today's plan. When the child takes two or three minutes to write that out, we are teaching them planning is very important. And we're teaching them that we need to structure our time so that we achieve things that we want to achieve. And what it does for you is it helps you learn about the child's priorities. You can see so much of how they're thinking. There's certain amount of problem solving that goes on during that today's plan, as they're thinking about what do they want to work on? And let me find the pencil and the papers, who knows I would let them go scout out what they needed. And where are they going to sit and write it. And the little anecdote that I was going to tell you about is that I always do this at the beginning of every session. And one day I brought the child into the OT area, and the phone rang in my room. So I answered the phone. And when I came back, I walked to the middle of the room and said, Okay, let's do our warm up. And he said, Wait, Mrs. C, we didn't do today's plan. And I that was so fantastic to me, because it meant that he had internalized that process. Even though I forgot about it. It was important to him that he set his plan for the session. And I think that that's a very powerful tool.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, and I mean, it's something that is we all do it to some extent and even if it's just in our head, all all of us are trying to put together a game plan for the day or even if it is just for an individual session. And I think that is important for other students to work on as well.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Right. And what happens is many of the children we see with disabilities are shuttled from one activity to the next to the next all day long. And it's like they sit there passively waiting for someone to tell them what's what's expected. When they create today's plan. It's their plan, they own it. And so I think that's a very powerful message to the child.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah. And it gives you opportunities to, you know, once you're done with step one, you're not saying to them, Hey, do you remember what step two is? You're saying, hey, what was step two, and they know to go back to their plan and look for it, you're not necessarily prompting, it just opens the door for more ways to, to focus on that transition aspect that we that we work on so much with our students? So? Yeah,  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

absolutely. And I'd love to talk about choice boards too, because I was torn between today's sports, choice boards are just the most fantastic way to help every level of child, you know, it's a very kind of compact little menu of choices that they can choose from. And you know, how who doesn't love a menu, you go to a restaurant, you get to pick whatever you want to do, you know, and so a choice board is telling the child that their decision that or is that what they want matters. And that's what a so that's when we're talking about occupational deprivation. When a child's choices don't matter, day after day, week, after week, they internalize that message like, well, I don't count, I just have to do what everybody else tells me to do. But once you have that choice board, and they can pick something that's meaningful for them, that really changes the kind of story in their head and in everybody's head. So choice boards can be so many different things, you can look that up on Pinterest, on the internet, there are just choice boards galore. But the main categories of choice board are just black choice boards, where there might I usually say there shouldn't be more than three. So you would have a board where there's three little squares, and a child can fill in the three squares with their choice. So let's say the choice for today is which warm up are we going to do. And the child can either draw a picture of three different warm ups that they like, and this is this is not the warmup activity itself, this is something you do in a session unto itself, where you're asking the child, let's think about warm up activities that you like. And then they put down the three choices of what they enjoy. And then, so they either draw it, they could cut out pictures from a magazine and glue it in, which includes a lot of skills that we want kids to work on. Or that there can be a search on the internet, if you have internet access in your school, and you can supervise as the child is surfing to find different warmup activities they like, or for children who struggle with these things, we can have a pre populated choice board. And that can be put together by contacting. First of all, you can try to ask a child if they're able to express themselves either using a communication board or, or some way that they can indicate. Or if that's not possible, you can ask the teacher what they noticed the child is gravitating towards, they might have a favorite iPad game, you know, something that you maybe they see them dancing around when the music teacher comes in. So dancing might be one Warm Up option. So there's a lot of ways that we can get that from either the teacher or their family to find out what it is that they enjoy. And then we pre populate the board, and then say which one would you like to do today? And that's always the question is, once they've made that choice board, then you want to run it off and have multiple copies, because you don't want them scribbling on it. And then you never have it again, you want to make sure it's blank. So that you know without writing on it, and even you can put dates on it, and then use it over and over again in multiple sessions.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah, I like that both the creating your list and using a choice board just to better understand what the student actually enjoys. And you know, I was thinking about a sensory diet, right? Like a lot of us are implementing a sensory data with very little input from a student. We know that spinning will help them but we don't actually ask them if they enjoy spinning, and I'm just using that as an example. But I think you could use a choice board in that same type of experience, right? Like, we know we need to get some vestibular input in well, let's give a few choices. So that we can identify what activities to get that vestibular input in the child prefers and we are naturally allowing that that student to make choices in relationship to their sensory data. either sensory plan or, or whatever you want to call it. So there's so many uses for it.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Absolutely. And I think we also need to listen, not just to what they say. But really, I think one of the one of the things that has been expressed to me from people who've taken classes with me is that it changed their understanding of their role as an OT practitioner, that we're not just there to come up with a treatment plan and administer it to a child, we're there to help the child get ready for a successful future. And what's the best way we can do that we can listen to them. Because by administering something to them, we're imposing our own ideas on them. But when we listen to them, that's they're expressing what they want for their future. And so, you know, if we can let them make those kinds of decisions, we're giving them this enormous gift for their future.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah. All right, I have two more questions, kind of in the same realm that we've been talking, you know, we were just talking more about working with an individual student. But what about working with a teacher, you know, even if it's just a quick tip for teachers, you know, they're seeing their students is always needing a teacher just comes to you and says, like, my students are always needing cues, always even verbal cues. Like they can't do more than one thing at a time. What's your kind of your one or two go to recommendations for teachers to try out?  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Well, I've had some very positive experiences with children having doing self monitoring, which again, puts the onus on the child. And when I say puts the onus on them, they love it. So it's not like we're giving them a burden, we are not, they love monitoring their own progress. So when a child has repeated questions over and over, it might be something that can be managed through a self monitoring process. And it's so easy to implement this, it just takes a little bit of planning, but it's not that difficult. It's basically a, you can do it with a group, a small group or with a whole class where the children might be aware of either given a blank form, and it has on it, you know what want to do? So let's say they want to the teacher has an assignment where she wants them to do a paragraph with an illustration about Aesop's Fables. I'm just making it up. Okay, so what are maybe they're going over a fifth fables. So you know, there are certain things that they're going to need to do, they're going to need to draw a picture, they're going to need to either write a sentence or a paragraph about the table that they read and what it meant. Okay, so let's say the child keeps asking for help. Like, I don't know what I'm supposed to do, I don't know what what how am I supposed to write it, they can write those things as points, like actions that they need to take, I need to find my crayons, find my blank paper from my folder that's in my cubby, open it up and take out the sheet and start coloring my picture. Okay, so that's all on their paper, or it can be a picture icon, it doesn't have to be all those words, it could just be a picture icon, on their self monitor and for. And so the teacher can say, Go get yourself monitoring form. And once they see that form, it reminds them of what they need to do so that instead of the teacher being the one who is cueing them, the form is queued. And they've written the cues themselves, so that that cue they're giving it to themselves, and then they go down list on that form. And there always has to be a date on top of each column, so that over time, they can check off what they were able to do. Maybe different components, draw the picture, write the sentence about Aesop's fable sign my name, you know, letters are sitting on the line, whatever the different criteria are, that the teacher wants, and the child can now analyze, did, were they able to do that? And again, for children who have challenges doing this, they might need the paraprofessional or the occupational therapy practitioner to assist them with analyzing how they did. But the point is that they're doing the analyzing, it's not the teacher saying you didn't do this, and you didn't do that. But you did that right? No, let them figure it out for themselves. And that can really help boost their confidence, boost their actual ability and reduce the amount of cueing that a teacher needs to do on a day to day basis.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, well, you know, as I'm sitting here listening, I'm really you know, I've seen it it's not something that I haven't seen, but I'm just recalling how different a self contained classroom is from your more typical general education classroom, not just in the content that they're being taught. But even just the routines, how there's so much different, you know, if you walk into most general education classrooms, you're going to see first thing in the morning, writing down the agenda routine for the day, at the end of the day, you're going to see them writing down their homework for the day, you're going to see them creating checklists for themselves. And those are things that you don't necessarily always see in more of a self contained special education classroom. You know, they're trying to focus on the writing their name, address, phone number, collect, we kind of mentioned earlier, to some extent it it's teaching the road skills, as opposed to teaching them the planning skills that general education students get every single day, when they're writing down their agenda, checking off their homework and whatnot. And I think that is something that we can definitely have conversations with our our special education teachers, and just, you know, teachers always talk to sorry, excuse me, but teachers always talk about like, my students aren't independent. And well, if we're not teaching them to be independent, they're not going to become independent.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

And in my opinion, that is a form of occupational injustice and deprivation, that they aren't given those opportunities. And so we can have an influence. I call this a grassroots approach. Like I said, before, we can't change the US Department of Education from our little school, okay. But we can change it from the ground up, you're right, we can from the ground up, when people start to see that these things work. It changes people's perspective over time. So I think it is worthwhile doing and when you have those successes, I had a couple, what really turned my head around was when I started teaching this because as I mentioned, I was doing this myself. But when I started teaching it to OT practitioners came to me and said, we'd like to share a case study with you. During our annual end of year meeting, we used to have these nowadays, they tend to be virtual, but before the pandemic, we had these in person meetings where we would have 300 people or 250, people show up in a giant auditorium. And we would have an end of the year meeting. So they said, Can we share this case study? I said, go for it, I'd love it. And what they found was that using that self monitoring approach that I mentioned, and the questioning approach, asking the child to make choices, changed this one child's entire trajectory. So I'll just tell you how it started out. It was two practitioners. One year, it was the child was in kindergarten, and he started out he was only he couldn't recognize or write any letters at the beginning of kindergarten. And by the end of kindergarten, he was able to write three letters. Okay. So it took him an entire year to learn three letters. In September, they switched, the he now was with the second OT who was in that building, the other OT, and she tried the techniques I just described, where he got to choose what letters he wanted to learn, he got to choose where he wanted to learn them how he wanted to learn. He did his own chart, and he would write down which letter he was going to do on what day and check off when he did it. And he learned all the other 23 letters in three months. So he his learning just sped up. Now, of course we don't know is that is partially from maturity, there may be other factors. But they were so excited because they knew this child, and they knew how he was struggling. And he just leapt forward and was now participating along with his fellow students. So I think that's just one example of how powerful some of these tools can be.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah, that's great. And, and, of course, now we've already mentioned it a few times, you've taken a lot of your experience and turned it into a program Captain me. And I want to give you just a quick opportunity to share a little bit about that as we start to wrap up.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Sure. So Captain Me was developed as a pandemic project, which was a pure joy, because as you know, we were pretty much all stuck indoors. And, you know, kind of struggling and floundering trying to figure out what we were going to do with ourselves while we were isolated. So I was very fortunate that I was taking these long walks and, and trying to figure out how I was going to spend my time in isolation. And I have a musical background and I decided to create some songs that would help children remember different aspects that were important to develop their own autonomy. So as I would walk down the street, I was singing these little songs into my phone's voice recorder. And when once I had about 12 songs and the topics were on goal setting, self monitoring, problem solving, planning, and how to clean up the mess and get organized, you know the things that we see on a day to day basis with children. So I'm fortunate I come from a showbiz family and I have, I had family members who helped me produce this and turn it into 12 Interactive Video programs. And they're only about five to six minutes each, because I wanted something that OT practitioners and educators could use in a very short amount of time. You know, we all know that it's important for children to be independent. But how are we going to do that when we've got IEP goals and documentation and all kinds of other pressures on ourselves. So we can't spend a whole session, you know, just asking children a million questions and, and going off on tangents, we've got to stay focused. So these 12 Very brief lessons that have interactive moments within them are meant to streamline the process and make it easier for OT practitioners to incorporate self determination in a very efficient manner. And to get some support, the OT practitioner can pick which aspects are most important. So if you know that a child you're working with is very upset, every time they make a mistake. There is a lesson about making mistakes and how to handle that. Okay, and it features a puppet. So the puppet is the one who makes mistakes, the puppet is the one who struggles. And so they watch this puppet go through his challenges and his frustration. And then the video pauses, and the OT practitioner has a chance to talk to the child and say, What happened to copy the puppet? Why was he upset? What do you think happened? What should he do to fix his problem? What would make his situation better? And so then the video resumes and they see how Cappy resolved his problem? And then it goes to the next stages. What would you do? If you were in that situation? How would you help resolve a problem like that. So it's very quick. And then there's a song for each lesson that they can go sing on their own. And my hope is that children will start singing it now I've been visiting my grandchildren, and they have been singing the songs all weekend with me. So I know, children liked the songs, they're fun songs, and just a little pointer, if anybody is interested, they can find all the songs free of charge through any music app. But you just have to have the list of the names of the songs. So I'll make sure that we can share that. So that if if any of your listeners want to listen to the song, they can do it very easily. And those can be sung, you know, at any time with a child to just reinforce the positive message about their own abilities about their ability to overcome difficulties. And they can just sing that song to make themselves realize that they are worthy and that they're good at these different topics.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, definitely, we'll have to post a link to Spotify or whatever, wherever it's best way to find it. But yeah, I love how you just like we've been talking about all day to day right choices and self monitoring. And it sounds like that's kind of what you've embedded into these videos, pressing pause, letting kids make choices, pressing play, again, pressing pause, letting them self monitor about, you know, if they were in the situation, you know, what would they do? What how would they feel and whatnot. So yeah, I think that that is absolutely wonderful. So thank you.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Yes, thank you, 

 

Jayson Davies   

Amy, thank you one more time, Amy for coming on the podcast, where's the best place for people to learn more about you and maybe the captain me program.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

So everyone can go to Captain me kids.com. And that's where the captain me program lives. And I'm in the midst of launching a new website. But everyone who goes to Captain me kids will go to the new website, because I have another program called the self determination strategies toolkit that highlights 10 different strategies that are basically everything we talked about today, but just encapsulates each strategy in a very brief manner, to help practitioners kind of focus on these different strategies and how to make them work best. So those will both live in the new website, which happens to be called self determined kids.com. But right now, and then that will be in the next few weeks that we'll be launching. But right now everybody can just go to Captain me kids.com And you will see all the songs there. The different topics and people can reach out the email is listed right there on the website. And feel free to reach out with any questions. 

 

Jayson Davies   

It was great. Thank you so much, Amy. And we'll definitely post all the links to those resources in the show notes so that they are so easy to find. Thank you again. And we look forward to staying in touch.  

 

Amy Coopersmith, OTD, OTR/L, MA, Ed   

Yes, thank you so much. I enjoyed our time together. 

 

Jayson Davies   

All right, that is going to wrap up episode number 139 of the OTs schoolhouse podcast. Thank you so much to Dr. Amy coopersmith, for coming on sharing her knowledge and inspiring us a little bit to I think move beyond the fine motor and sensory processing skills, then think about that self determination piece and how we can encourage choice making and let kids don't learn to make their own decisions. You know, if we don't facilitate that, and if the teachers are not facilitating that, and if the parents are not facilitating that, they're never going to get that. I mean, how good is it if they can have rote skills, but then they can't make their own decisions in the future. So once again, thank you, Amy, thank you to you for tuning in listening and taking something from this episode and putting it into your practice. maybe today, maybe tomorrow, whenever it might be. Thank you. If you enjoyed this episode with Dr. Cooper Smith, she recently provided a one hour professional development course right inside of our OTs schoolhouse collaborative community. If you'd like to learn more about that course and more about the OTs schoolhouse collaborative community, you can do so over at OTSchoolHouse.com slash collab. We have professional development every single month over there. We have a gold bank, and we have a community of school based OT practitioners that want to support one another. If you're looking for professional development, mentorship and guidance, the OT school house collaborative is the perfect place to be. All right, well, that's gonna wrap us up today. Thank you so much for tuning in. And we'll see you next time on the OT school house podcast. 

 

Amazing Narrator   

Thank you for listening to the OT schoolhouse podcast. For more ways to help you and your students succeed right now. Head on over to OT schoolhouse.com Until next time, class is dismissed. 




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