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OTS 140: OT Solutions for ADHD Challenges


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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 140 of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.


In this episode, Lori Flynn is delving into multiple different aspects of understanding ADHD, creating personalized teaching plans, developing visual schedules, and fostering a supportive environment for every child.


She also discusses the challenges and the practical strategies that can assist. You'll be equipped with some tools to create a positive and inclusive learning environment.

Join us as we explore these valuable insights and work towards making a real difference in the lives of these students!



Listen now to learn the following objectives:


  • Learners will understand the environmental Impact on ADHD Symptoms

  • Learners will identify the pivotal role of individualized interventions in addressing the unique needs of students with ADHD.

  • Learners will identify the overlap between sensory processing difficulties and ADHD, and distinguish between sensory interventions and breaks for children with ADHD.

  • Learners will identify the need for collaborative support and individualized teaching plans for children with ADHD, and understand the importance of integrating visual aids, recognizing strengths, and providing clear accommodations for optimal support.



Guest Bio


Lori Flynn is a practicing school-based occupational therapist, certified ADHD practitioner, and parent coach.

She is the founder of OT4ADHD.com, a website dedicated to providing school-based professionals with effective, evidenced-based strategies that facilitate improved classroom participation and performance for children with ADHD.

Her knowledge and passion surrounding ADHD is shaped by extensive ongoing continuing education and lived experience.



Quotes


“Teachers do well when they can.”

-Lori Flynn, OTR/L


“The children who do not have the hyperactivity piece… they're not being identified.”

-Lori Flynn, OTR/L


“I am not focusing on automating writing when they're older, because the speed in which the class is moving is so much faster than any type of game that I can ever build for that child.”

-Lori Flynn, OTR/L


“No, he doesn't need to try harder. He needs to try differently, because that's not going to work for him.”

-Lori Flynn, OTR/L


“For any accommodation that I am going to put on to that page, I'm going to make sure that there's a plan to actually incorporate that accommodation.”

-Jayson Davies, MA, OTR/L



Resources



Episode Transcript

Expand to view the full episode transcript.

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, class is officially in session. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Hey there and welcome to episode 140 of the OT schoolhouse podcast your dedicated resource for practical strategies and actionable insight in the world of school based occupational therapy. I'm your host Jayson Davies, and I am so happy to have you here as we dive into the world of ADHD today. In this episode, I am thrilled to introduce you to Laurie Flynn, a highly experienced school based occupational therapy practitioner with over two decades of expertise out of need. Laurie has devoted much of the last several years to understanding and supporting the unique needs of students with ADHD in the classroom, making her the perfect guest for today's enlightening discussion. Like many of you, Laurie has seen a dramatic increase in the number of students refer to her due to concerns stemming from a student's ADHD. As a result, she took it upon herself to learn everything she could about ADHD from all perspectives, attending conferences, reading, online courses, everything. Now she's ready to share some of what she has learned with all of us. In today's interview, Lori and I will first discuss ADHD and some of the common areas of concern relative to ADHD. After that, I asked Laurie to walk us through a case study of sorts to provide valuable insights and strategies for evaluating and effectively supporting students who exhibit traits associated with ADHD. Specifically, we'll explore the impact of the natural environment on ADHD symptoms and its influence on standardized testing, assessment tools and evidence based strategies for supporting students with ADHD, including the use of the whisk to assess cognitive proficiency and working memory. And finally, we'll also discuss practical tips for fostering strong collaborations between OT practitioners, teachers, parents, and students to create environments conducive to academic success for students with ADHD. As an OT practitioner, evaluating and providing effective services to students with ADHD is crucial. By walking through the evaluation and discussing therapy interventions with us, you will gain practical insights and tools to tailor your intervention plans and accommodations that are conducive to the success of students with ADHD in the classroom. So get ready to use that 15 Second rewind button as Laurie dropped some serious knowledge today, and tune into the complete episode to equip yourself with the knowledge you need to support your students. Let's go. Lori, welcome to the OT, schoolhouse podcast. Thank you so much for being here. How are you doing today? 

 

Lori Flynn   

I'm doing great. Thank you for having me. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, I'm so excited. You know, I mean, it's probably been about half a year now maybe even a little bit more that I've started to see these posts to show up on my Instagram feed. And they're all about ADHD and how we can support students as occupational therapy practitioners in in school, those with ADHD, and I just love what I'm seeing. So I had to reach out and yeah, I'm looking forward to this. I hope you are as well. 

 

Lori Flynn   

I am that's great. I'm glad it reached you.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah, definitely. Right. Like, that's what's really cool about social media, you know, it's, it's, we can get out there and share our, our message with the world. And I guess like the first thing I want to get started with is where you are as an OT today, and kind of how you got started with this Instagram with OT for ADHD. 

 

Lori Flynn   

Wow, all right. I am still I'm a practicing school based OT in New York in a teeny tiny school. And I started well, it's I've been practicing for 22 years. So I'm gonna say about half of my practice ago, I started seeing such an increase in students with ADHD, just in general. And then they were the kids that just weren't generalizing. They weren't generalizing what we were doing in our sessions, and back to the classroom. And now I started a long time ago. So it was pull out was the only way. I started doing OTs, which I have to, you know, evolved. But at the time, it bugged me that I just couldn't figure out why. So I started researching just on my own and doing some continuing education on each user tried to figure out that piece why they were one child in my room and a totally, totally different child in the classroom. And it would throw me so it really just started becoming something that I was upskilling on on my own for no other reason.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, that's awesome. I mean, that's I think that's how a lot of us get into a specialty area right like, we start a little abroad and then something starts to start to hit us in one way or another. And for you, it was, you know, seeing more students with ADHD and you just kind of went off and ran with that. I want to ask you then, for you, what was your preferred method for learning more about ADHD? Was it reading research articles? Was it buying books? I know you just went to a conference. But was that kind of what you did at first? Or how did you get started?  

 

Lori Flynn   

At first I was I'm a real big reader. I was reading books. And then I was reading research articles. And then I was, I laughed, because I was like, I'm not fun at parties anymore. I read the citations on the research article, and then read those articles. And that's becoming what I do at night. And I was like, oh, because there was no OT, ADHD information. I mean, what I had I exhausted in a day. There really just, it was not. 

 

Jayson Davies   

I love that you brought that up, because I still feel that way. Like, is that true?  

 

Lori Flynn   

And it is better. Okay, Canada, I get more out of Canada, even though it is true. When you do if you just like, go on a OTA and you research and you do all the journals. I mean, what you come up with is, is so on usable? It's like one woman with horseback riding and she had ADHD and let's write a research article. I can't use that in this. Yeah. So it was really missing. So I had it, I had to go outside of the OT field. And I think Russell Barkley historic there, I think everybody starts there. He's like, the king of ADHD research. And he just retired. And I've read everything appears. And then I just, it just keeps going. It was it was like a rabbit hole that I went down and just have never come out of. And it's been many years. 

 

Jayson Davies   

But right I mean, your your most recent Instagram post, as of today is a picture of a bunch of books from from the conference you just attended. So obviously, nothing has changed in regarding to your reading habits. 

 

Lori Flynn   

And I only did that because I did the same picture the year before. So I'm like, that's gonna be my leaving picture every year. Back of books on the hotel bed because they didn't fit in my suitcase. That was the problem I had last year. Not this last one. But the one before I had to leave, I usually travel with a pillow. I had to leave my pillow behind to get the books home. Because I had so many. And I had a carry on.  

 

Jayson Davies   

That is funny. That's good.  

 

Lori Flynn   

Sure. I love space. 

 

Jayson Davies   

All right. So somewhere below in Euro Deborah. All right. Well, now, as you mentioned, right, ADHD, and OT, we know that we can support students with ADHD. But as you mentioned, there's not a lot of resources out there. However, you are kind of taking on that role right now with your Instagram with your website. And so I'm excited to dive into that. But I want to ask you, you know, you had students, you started to see more students with ADHD. But was there one specific moment that just like dawned on you, hey, I need to do this. I need to be the one to create these resources for the students, for the teachers and for other occupational therapy practitioners. 

 

Lori Flynn   

Oh, yes, it was. It was one very specific moment. Well, I had already been studying and it was just on my own and I was just applying it with my own students. So it wasn't, you know, I was alone. Occupational therapists, like many of us are I just work with myself. You know, my speech therapist is my buddy and I just do my job. And I was at a CSE meeting for one of my students, one of my very favorites, but they're all my favorites. But this one I just bought. And we're at the CSE meeting and the teacher is we're talking about right handwriting because the handwriting it just sticks and you know, this child was done. This was he was in third grade. And the teacher, we were talking about the gains is made and she says, Well, he can write neatly when he tries. And I actually lost it. At this point, I had learned so much that it became dangerous. I had too much knowledge, and I lost it and I've never 22 years like I've never lost it at the CSE meeting I behave. And I snapped and it wasn't even because she said, and I just started lecturing. I didn't do anything really crazy. I just was lecturing and like without knowing your audience and the parents were there lecturing. But it was It wasn't because she said he can try harder. I got used to dealing with that every day. It was that she was a brand new special ed teacher, brand new that just came out of school. And I went home and I emailed and apologized. And then I opened a website. First I Googled how to open a website. Then I opened the website because they said I am going to just tell all the teachers like I have 44 teachers in my school like what you know, that's not even going to help and look Mic 44. And this one is just someone has to tell these teachers like they need this information. They don't know. And I just started just putting I opened up an Instagram, I made it OT for ADHD, I mean, there's no creativity, you could tell in that moment, I was just like, what could it be called OT for ADHD, good, the fo r was taken. So I just use the number for, like, this was all done in a moment. And I just start posting like one a day. And just things, anything that I just thought people should know. And I, from there, I just keep doing it every day, I'm shocked that I kept it going. But people were really grateful for the information. And I was dripping it in bite sized pieces, like a piece, just one little piece of information rather than these giant books that I was reading. So it really came out of anger, which so many wonderful things to do. But that's how I started it. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, I love it. I mean, as kind of scroll through your Instagram, right, you have like tip number one or tip for this. And it's just a very nice bite sized piece of information that you can take, kind of put it into your heart, maybe create a little mantra about it if you need to. But it's something that you can start to implement very quickly. So I love that I think we have all been in an IEP meeting or a CSE meeting where someone has said that right? Like, oh, he can write his name when he wants to, he can write when he wants to he can behave when he wants to he can whatever when he wants to. And I know every OT practitioner dies a little inside when we hear that because we know like we understand where that person is coming from whether it's a teacher, a parent, even another OT practitioner, but we also understand using a holistic lens, how almost inappropriate it sounds is almost like a four letter word for us. Right? Like, that's just hard for us to hear. And so, as you mentioned, you've heard that countless times. And so I'd love for you to kind of take us into the moment like how does that really make you feel? And what are you hearing when someone says that? 

 

Lori Flynn   

Well, kids do well when they can. So I mean, I think we all know Ross screen and kids do well when they can these, these students are just so misunderstood. And they want to do well. And they don't even know how to do well. They don't know why they're not doing well. And I hear it from preschool teachers. There is not a preschooler in the world that doesn't want to do everything. Well. I mean, it's like, I do it, I do it. That's what preschoolers say, let me do it.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah,  Right.  

 

Lori Flynn   

So it just the fact that it's mistaken for a will based condition is actually the most damaging thing that is what creates the secondary complications with ADHD. And that is what really I think fuels my passion for it. Because there are so many things out in the world that OTs help people participate in perform, and that we don't have control over. You know, if someone has hemiplegic arm, I can, I can help them, but I can't prevent more damage from their arm. But with ADHC the humans in the context of this child's life actually have the power to prevent just by their own beliefs. And it is really just we have we have more power in the schools and more control. And I say we I mean teachers over the outcomes than we even know. So if we knew we would all do better, because I did have one post that said, teachers do well when they can. They don't know. Yeah, they don't. And when they find out they're like, huh, I see what you mean now, but it takes a little while. But once they know, then they know. And yeah, makes it changes the the entire prognosis for the child?  that's a lot of power. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, and we're gonna get into a little bit more about strategies here in maybe 20 minutes or so. But I kind of want to dive into those challenges of what, what we see what teachers see. And I don't I don't want to over generalize. I know every student with ADHD is different from every other student with ADHD. But I'd like to ask you, what are some of the common functional difficulties that you see students with ADHD having as it relates to, you know, progressing and participating in education 

 

Lori Flynn   

in school? Wow. It's very prevalent. So you're looking at about one in 10. So that's two to three in every single class. And he is extremely heterogeneous. I mean, extremely. You can have two kids sitting next to each other and they appeared to have And incredibly opposite profile. And they both have ADHD, and comorbidities or CO occurring conditions with ADHD, change the whole picture. So you have a boy with primarily inattentive, impulsive presentation, ADHD, and dyslexia is going to have way different challenges than a girl that's also twice exceptional, and has ADHD and is just inattentive, they look totally different, but it's the same thing. So the challenges are really all over the market what, what ADHD really is, is a neuro developmental difference of self regulation and executive function. So it touches everything in school, and executive functions develop throughout the entire school, they don't fully develop into your mid 20s. And there's a great variance with executive functions to begin with. So little kids with ADHD are the kids that a lot of OTs are approached about, they look like they have sensory problems, they have self regulation problems, their transitions are the worst possible thing. They're melting down emotional dysregulation, you're seeing that in the younger grades. And then hyperactivity for children who are hyperactive, you'll see that and you know, they can't stay seated. And then you see a ton of internal distraction and rumination and more of that emotional anxiety dysregulation. And then as they get older, that hyperactivity decreases in adolescence, and there's like a studies of this the progression, and it kind of goes inside. So then it's more in your head. And then you're seeing the disorganization the difficulty with time, then they're talking more about that the teachers, so really depends on the age and stage, and what else what other conditions are present as far as their challenges, but it is, it's all over the map. And and the children who do not have the hyperactivity piece, are the ones you really do have to worry about.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Why is that?  

 

Lori Flynn   

Because they're not being identified. The stereotypical bouncing first grade boy that's always got an October birthday, and he's a lefty. I don't know why, but it's just always that profile. That to be a study, that guy gets help. That guy, you know, the teacher is like, what is going on, you know, he's hanging from the ceiling, he gets help, but the one that is in the corner, and it doesn't have to be a girl, a lot of females have, that are late diagnosed adults, you know, we're quiet, they are not a problem. You're teaching a class of 20 to 30 kids, the quiet kid is not your problem, like you're not even paying attention. And they're struggling. And no one knows they're struggling. And that that becomes anxiety and depression later on the untreated piece. So we really need to be very careful when we're looking at children that are struggling, and disorganized and forgetting things and having that very inattentive presentation, but that aren't a problem and then are having emotional problems, they really need to be looking at what's going on with these, these kids.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Gotcha. Great. Thanks for sharing that I based upon kind of your response to follow ups here. Take them one at a time. You started with that very first kid that really got you going. You mentioned how people were saying, Oh, he can write when he wants to. Obviously ADHD is not a motor disability, right. However, I think we have all experienced kids with ADHD who struggle with writing. You mentioned a little bit about self regulation, emotional regulation when it comes to ADHD executive functioning. Where's the connection between ADHD and handwriting? Why are us why is it that UC students who have poor handwriting have ADHD.  

 

Lori Flynn   

So the connection between ADHD and handwriting, which is like, super fascinating, and you'll jump right into the rabbit hole with me is working memory. It's working memory, and it's huge. So the entire writing process is governed by working memory. There's a triangle picture the triangle between transcription which is handwriting and spelling, and then written expression like where you're taking all your thoughts and you're making an an order an essay out of it, sees everything, sentences, everything, it all plays on that working memory. You have to be able to hold things in mind before you can transfer them to long term schemas. graphemes phonemes all that it's called ortho graphic. I can't organization it's so that working Memory governs writing. It governs handwriting governs learning the letters. And then it governs being able to write words and sentences. And working memory is indicated as being one of the things that the developmental difference in the prefrontal cortex impacts. So the reason why children with ADHD have difficulty with handwriting, maybe the motor piece, but it's really, that we do a really good job at helping with that as therapists. That's what I was seeing. I was like, Oh, I motor skills are fine with letters in isolation. As soon as you have to put those letters together and start moving across the page. They're gone. And I was like, it's a sequencing sequencing thing. Now, it's a working memory thing. And working memory is limited in the neuro typical adult, to three to four pieces of information at a time. It's not very big. Yeah. Typically, in a student with ADHD, it's like one, it's like one piece of information at a time, one step, then give them the next step. And it's, most of the help is compensatory in nature. So when they're saying he needs to try harder, I'm like, No, he doesn't need to try harder. He needs to try differently, because that's not going to work for him. And that is, it's a huge wow moment for teachers, they really do understand that working memory piece. And if you're like a research, person, burnin, burn injure, she's the best. 

 

Jayson Davies   

just had that off the top of your head, you know, working memory for injure? 

 

Lori Flynn   

 I do actually.  

 

Jayson Davies   

I love it. I love it. No, you know, that resonates with me, I've sat in so many IEPs, where I try and break that down for parents and teachers, right? I don't think I've ever actually said the words work in memory. But kind of like you said, right? Like you use the word sequencing or something like that. And you try to help parents and teachers understand that writing is so much more than just putting letters on the page. And, as you mentioned, we can hold three, four, maybe five things in our brain at a time, kids much less. And when you really break down the tasks of writing. If you don't know how to spell the word, the t h e, you don't know how to put it on paper before that every single letter is like 18 steps from the brain to the pencil to the paper. And we sometimes have to help parents to understand that and teachers to understand that which is it's hard. But it's something that we sometimes need to speak up in an IEP and tell them about  

 

Lori Flynn   

Yes, and if they haven't automated, so if they automate their writing, if they automate letter formation, which typically they're supposed to by third grade, automate those letter formation, so then they can use them to learn, you know, you're not reading, you're not learning to read and write, you're writing, reading and writing to learn. So if they're not automated, each one of those letters are an actual task. So you could have two or three, and then you're done, you're overloaded. And once your working memory is overloaded, you're nothing else is getting in I, in one of the post, they made it like a iPhone battery. Like when it's iPhone memory, when it's full, it's full. Nothing else is getting in. So when you overload that working memory, with non automated tasks, the other things aren't getting in. You're not ignoring them. You're not not listening. They're just not getting in. And it's like when you walk into a room, you're like, Why did I come in this room? Like that's gone? Whatever the reason was, it's gone, because it never got in. So you go back to where you came from. And you look around, and then that same thing. Well, we spark what it was that you went into the other room for. So that's why the writing, and it's, it's great. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Sorry, Laurie, as soon as you started talking about the iPhone memory, my brain went to I keep getting emails from Apple saying I have 10% left on my iCloud storage. And my brain was full at that point. But no, really, though. Let's continue on. So we talked a little bit about that handwriting, that motor piece and working memory being such a big part of handwriting. I think that's important, right? Because a lot of I mean, I think we've all Yeah, we've all been in a conversation where people whether it's an OT a teacher, someone else thinks like all OTs do is motor and sensory, but working memory is definitely something that we can touch on. And we'll come back to that in a moment. But I do want to ask that other question that I had was about sensory. Is there a sensory component to ADHD? Again, you talked about self regulation, executive functioning, but you didn't mention that sometimes. Someone might approach you thinking it's a sensory difficulty sensory processing difficulty. So is there a tie is there not a tie? Talk to me?  

 

Lori Flynn   

So children with sensory processing difficulties and ADHD there is a huge overlap. They can have both. But ADHD is a developmental difference in the prefrontal cortex of the brain sensory processing is not the same. When we use sensory integration, that doesn't help ADHD. But you are going to have lots of people with ADHD that also have difficulty processing, you know, sensations. And they're also highly sensitive, they have poor, so you know, selective attention skills. So they're taking in a ton of input, and then having difficulty regulating the input. So it is, everything is sensory, everything is behavior, you know, so it's very hard. But you can't say, oh, I'm going to put them you know, in an SI gym, and that's going to help his ADHD, because it will not help his ADHD. But when I go into a classroom, and the child's highly distracted, and I give them sound blocking headphones, that's technically a sensory intervention, but I'm giving it to that child to block distractions. For so it's for a different reason, or a cushion. Because when students with ADHD sit on the move and stick cushions, they get to move, and they do better when they can move. But it's not because he's sensory seeking. It's because he has ADHD. So sensory is almost like a symptom of, you know, the side effects of ADHD. But they but they have to be distinguished because there are studies out there that say, occupational therapy does not work for ADHD in the schools. And yep, I actually wrote to the person that did the study, because it was so inflammatory. And it was they gave the student weighted vests and the therapy ball. Right? Those were the two interventions that they did a research study on. And they didn't, that was it. And then they called that those two pieces of equipment without any training, they just kind of like gave these kids, they call that OT, that's not OT yet, it wasn't FIU Sorry, I was really mad about the study. And it was just it was wrong to do that. So, so we have to be careful, like, this is why I am using this. So if they do, they're extremely, you know, co occurring, especially sound sensitivity. I see that quite often. But the reason for using equipment, or for taking a break, it's not it's not a break, because he's sensory seeking, it's a break, because he needs a reset as executive functions and change environments so he can re engage. So it's, it's the same but different. If that makes sense. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. No, I don't want to almost for the rest of the podcast, honestly, it's it's I think we might kind of go about it as a case study per se. And I want to start with that in the sense that if you receive a referral for a student who's maybe having some difficulties with handwriting, maybe some behavioral concerns, no real diagnosis, and you think that, you know, ADHD may or may not be a factor. does that manifest within your evaluation? Does your evaluation look a little different? Or I guess, like, what are you looking for in your evaluation? And how do you look for that information? 

 

Lori Flynn   

So my evaluation has changed greatly not even because of this research, just because of the new direction of OT my evaluation is, is very functional based. Now, I could care less what the bot says like that is really as no part of what I'm doing in the school and little part like I do kind of curious, but that's about it. I look at what it is, what the problem is in the classroom, what what is, what is the expectation? What is the procedure, the procedure and procedures are everything in school, and if you look at there's 40 of them, right? 40 procedures, these kids have to know in a classroom, like they have a procedure for sharpening a pencil for coming in. There's just procedure procedure procedure. That's how they run, it's you. You have to have them.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, 

 

Lori Flynn   

 that's how good classrooms run on their procedures, and which ones are a difficulty. And then I go back to why. And I look at the student, you know, developmentally, I look at I do the occupational profile, I look at executive functions because there's no getting around them. They're in everything. And I could use depending on the age I could use a standardized tests, I use informal, I use interview, and then I look at what it is that I see clinically which I've been doing this a long time. So it's kind of unfair, compared to someone brand new, but clinically, I can see alright, this child might be having difficulty with let's say visual processing or fine motor or sensory or executive function. And then I would go a little deeper to try to uncover there. And then the ADHD piece is usually pretty obvious to me only because 70% of my caseload has 80 So I just I, you know starting to be like okay, to the point where I'm like, why is everyone have like it just me I'm like, what I do, but it is that it's a 70 70%. It's 80% of children with ADHD have another condition. It's rare for someone to just have ADHD all by itself. So they're on my caseload mainly because they had difficulties with difficulty with fine motor development. And you know, I'm working on that with them, or Developmental Coordination Disorder, that's, that's a big one that likes to go hand in hand. And those two together, very motor skills are very difficult for these kids really difficult. And then I go from there, and I'm all about, let's get them doing it. Let's get them doing it. I'm strength based, you know, let's get them doing it in a way that works best for them. Because this is lifelong. And the American Academy of Pediatrics, that chronic care model is not, you know, let me spend the next six years of my life working on these fine motor skills, I am changing the occupation, I'm changing the task, I'm matching the child to the expectation, and I'm saving their self esteem. And I think that's what OTs are supposed to be doing in the schools, but we forget, especially me who was trained with performance components, like it was, you know, back in the black and white days, it was a long time ago. And I would go in and say, Okay, what are the performance? What are the breakdowns? What are the weaknesses, let me fix them. But it won't generalize, because the working memory, and it needs to be in the classroom, and you need to match the kid. So it does, I totally went off tests there. But it's, it does it really,  

 

Jayson Davies   

really fun. I want to challenge you here, then, because you put some emphasis on working memory. And as you know, not everyone listening has the 22 years of experience as you do. And the bot doesn't give you working memory, the SPM doesn't give you working memory. So if I may, maybe one or two things that you kind of do specifically to look at working memory. 

 

Lori Flynn   

 Alright, so even more interesting observation in the natural environment. So have you ever had a child that you take them to your room to evaluate them, and they do amazing. I mean, they're all of the standardized testing is like off the charts. And we're like, I saw this child function in the classroom with my own two eyes. But on paper, this is a superstar. That is what we're dealing with, with ADHD, because your context in the novelty of the one to one environment sparked everything, and they are running at their tippity top best. And they are, they are remembering, they're answering questions. They can do everything on all of your tests. But then you put them in the classroom, and it's gone. Because they're overloaded, and they can't perform in that context. So you get more from your observation. And you get more from when it comes to executive functions, because you can't really test them outside of the natural environment, because you're in a different environment. So that right there, the demands and expectations are totally different. would be like the brief. The brief is a standardized test that you can email the teacher, for some reason I get those back like instant. Sometimes you have to chase teachers down for, you know, for checklists, this one I guess it's just such a friendly format to fill it out. And we boom, I never it's never been even a day they get right back. Party Connect has it like where it's like a queue global type thing. So the brief works great, and it will give you different scales about the working memory.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Okay. 

 

Lori Flynn   

 And I steal from the school psychologists from the whisk. And his I have never I spend more time I think I read I think I read his report when he does really study it. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Reports Oh, yeah, I love like reports available. 

 

Lori Flynn   

I'm at the point where I'm like, I'm not testing them to the SEC reports done because it gives me so much information as to where the strengths are, where and you're always gonna see the working memory is low cognitive proficiency as well. processing speed may be low, the coding, that's all that that piece there. So when you see that on the psych report, it's also it's a piece of the puzzle. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Can you say that one more time, you know, for everyone, 

 

Lori Flynn   

the WISC five, there's actual there's actually studies. I'm such a visual person, like I'm actually looking at the picture of it. In my head, I want to show it to you and I keep forgetting we're on the WISC five you're gonna see lower scores in coding, processing speed, which is the cognitive proficiency area of the wrist, and the working memory, you're going to see those lower than everything else. So the child might be like in the most of my students, I actually charted them, like 99th percentile in the whole thing. And then there'll be in the 40s  

 

Jayson Davies   

Oh, wow.  

 

Lori Flynn   

So in that, which nobody would say that's a disability. But oh, Have you noticed there's a little glitch in the sub tests and like, Oh, that's not a glitch, that is exactly what we're seeing in the classroom. And it's that cognitive proficiency, they're not able to apply their intelligence in the moment. And it's, it's very interesting. And they actually the WISC five takes out those the coding the working memory, the processing speed, to get it to get the I know, I don't want to say it's crystallized intelligence is another word for it to get a different intelligence score, that's usually higher, because it brought that down. And they'll use that for students that have ADHD.  Interesting. Good to know when something new. All right. That's right. All right. So now, if you've done your evaluation, you started to, you know, tease out some of these items. Before we get into the intervention side, I actually want to ask you about the IEP or the CSC meeting itself. Everyone should know if we've worked in the schools for you know, six months or longer, we can't go into an IEP and say, Hey, your student has ADHD. Right? So how do you present to a parent, especially if it's a student who hasn't been identified as ADHD? How do you kind of present that to them and say, These are the types of things that we want to work on? Because can't use ADHD? So how do you how do you word that, I would never say to a parent, it is not my, it's wrong of me. My school psychologist can do that all he wants. But they do, they'll give him the Conners if that's a concern, and they'll take the Connors which is a ADHD screening to the pediatrician,  

 

Jayson Davies   

okay, 

 

Lori Flynn   

 because nobody in the school would diagnose someone with ADHD. But they would say we are concerned with his ability to attend to this that the other thing, he's an attentive this is we're showing all this, you may want to bring this to pediatrician. But to be totally honest, I don't even care if they have an ADHD diagnosis, it does not change anything I'm going to do for that child. Because whether or not they're identified, which I do believe it's very important to be identified with that, even just just to know it does put a name to what's going on, depending on the age and for the parent, I'm going to work on whatever the thing is in the school, they're having difficulty performing whether or not they have ADHD, it just lets me know that I'm going to have to use a little bit of a different type of intervention. So I'm still working on the same goals, I just know that I am going to work in the classroom rather than out of the classroom, I need to be at the point of performance, I need to have much more teacher and parent buy in than I would. And I need to be looking at a strength based, very protective, very lifelong, build my own skills type practice, rather than like let's, you know, teach, play these games makes our finger muscles stronger, and go. And they need to know that when they're little I am going to automate those writing skills like you've never seen, I'm going to really focus on automation more than anything, because I want that off their plate. I want to there's a lot to know as an OT. So it's not that I'm going out there and treating all the kids with ADHD I actually don't treat ADHD I treat a student so they can participate and perform in their school environment, whether they have ADHD, dyslexia, you know, lefties with October birthdays, they're all you know, it doesn't matter. It doesn't the fact that I have like branched out more, and I help train parents and teachers, but that's the only way it really matters. Otherwise, it just changed the way I approach my intervention. Because they have more information. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, great. I love that, that that's 

 

Lori Flynn   

mind blowing. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, you know, it's something that, again, if we've been in the schools for more than a few weeks, then you've been told by someone like OTs do not make diagnosis is I mean, we diagnoses we don't make diagnosis, even outside right? of schools. But we have to be very careful not to make diagnoses, we also have to be sometimes very mindful of not making a referral, right. Like, we can't say, hey, you know, there's an OT that specializes in ADHD on first and a street, you know, go check them out, we have to be careful about that as well. So yeah, thanks for sharing a little bit about that. Yes. Now, let's move on to that next piece. Right. So you have this data, you've talked to the IEP team about needing to provide some supports, there's many routes that we could go from here, right, you talked about how you're going to treat differently based upon your information. What are some things that you might consider, let's just dive into considerations, not what you would do, but what are you going to consider as you develop your service model type of plan. 

 

Lori Flynn   

So I'm at the IEP meeting for this new student. Yeah, right. So I would be the accommodation shins become to even ever be at the year at the initial CSE meeting, and everyone's gone over their reports, right. And it's always running very long when every single person's going over to initial, and then you get to the end, and they're like, did any accommodations? And they seem, I don't know, it always just seems like an afterthought like or did and so I started reading all this, like any account, especially for the younger kids that don't have testing really any accommodations, people throw it at preferential seating and focus redirect, that's where I go, Whoa, let's go back because we need to make this environment match this child. So most of what I do in a CSE meeting is get really crystal clear on accommodations, and how exactly they're implemented. And in New York, we have like this box for management needs. And that thing is, it is like bulleted down half a page from me. Rather than it was it just would be like, Sally has poor fine motor skills, she needs help. Like, it's not like that anymore. Um, because this is what is going to help this child. So that's the big difference. To see is I put a lot of I'm very mindful about the accommodations, but more so about the implementation guidance, because what does refocus and redirect me? What does preferential seating mean? I people actually think it means they get to pick their seat like that. Is you better? No, that's not what that means. 

 

Jayson Davies   

No, no, I'm just I'm going on because I love where you're about to go. Because I do the same thing. I mean, I have half a page of accommodations. But for any accommodation that I am going to put on to that page, I'm going to make sure that there's a plan to actually incorporate that accommodation, because too often, you put an accommodation onto a page. And then a year later you come back for the IEP team meeting. And someone asks, How has this been accommodated? How has this been implemented? And everyone looks at each other? Like, did you do it? Did you do it? Who was the one who taught him how to use speech to text? He was the one who taught him how to use that feature on the test. Right? So So what do you do then?  

 

Lori Flynn   

So I don't do a half a page accommodations. I keep my accommodations small. And they really I have data to prove everyone because we have to remember these are a big ask have teachers accommodations. And I basically in with the younger kids, where it's one classroom teacher in their class, but if you think of middle school, high school, they have hundreds of students with hundreds of accommodations. So you have to be very careful. It's the implementation guidance, like you're saying the plan, that is a half page, like you know, exactly. If I put an accommodation on an IEP, you know, how to how to exactly how to provide that accommodation, there is no question that you're not wondering where that this child should sit, sit in a classroom. You know, what, where, and you know, why? Do you know exactly why, and I think that's super important. Because when you know why you're going to do it, we're likely to do it.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah,  

 

Lori Flynn   

yes. And then the child is going to accept it, because kids hate being other. So it accommodations really are very important thing that get very, you know, swept over. And that that's, and I also know most I don't know, T has to go and do this. This is my own craziness. But I work in one small district. So I know who the teacher is, there's only two there's a choice, you have a 5050 shot for next year. So I know who the teacher is. And I write out a cheat sheet for each one of my students with all their accommodations. And like ways I do it like at the CSE meeting, like as we're talking, like what's working for this student now. And being that I know that teacher and I know how they teach. And my kid just had that teacher I know exactly what they do. And I think this is because I'm in a small space. I give them a IEP cheat sheet, I call it or the 504 cheat sheet for school starts that has made I tell parents to do that for their own children. Because it has made such a difference to have it just bulleted this works. This works. This works. This is what I mean, this happens when you do this. This is great. And the teachers it really does help open collaboration with them because they're like, Thank you. You know, I have 4040 IPS three like this was so nice. I could just so often read the IP legally but like I can apply it immediately. So that that helps have a question 

 

Jayson Davies   

then because I consider this I don't think I've ever actually done it. But basically to create a an IEP goal for an accommodation to be implemented. Now. I don't think I've done it that specific. I think I have done some like self advocacy goals right where the student will access accommodations. on AP or something like that, but nothing specific to an accommodation is that something that you might do, or because you're doing this cheat sheet for teachers, you haven't needed to do it, 

 

Lori Flynn   

I've written well, if you're going to use an accommodation like speech to text, I really do hope you have a goal. Matching that one, because you need the child needs to know how to use speech to text with a certain level of fidelity for to being, you know, anything even close to helpful. So they are, I will always have a goal. And that I will put the accommodations that the child has access to speech to text, not that they have to use it, because that means they have to use it, you have to be very, it's the legal document. So have access to, and then they will be trained as a goal. And they can use use it when they have a certain fidelity at home school. But I have never, outside of the self advocacy, I when I've written a goal that was like the child will choose from a visual choice board, like, you know, three out of three, like where to take a break in the accommodation break, like that type of tying together the goal and the accommodation. But I've never been so specific, like the child will tolerate their accommodations and use them. But you know, self advocacy, and that's so important. But I do have a funny, I do have a funny, 504 story. Saying that. So I had been working really hard on self advocacy with a certain student. And they kind of took it too far. Like they really own their 504 Like, this was like their cake. And I was always happy. You know, they're using their 504. And they're always talking about their 504. And they got in trouble. That the kid was at a sleepover and got in trouble. And the one kid got his phone taken away. But the other child, you know, supposedly nothing happened to him, you know, because he had a 504. So he had trouble with his parents. Wow, that's over. Yeah. He said, Well, he didn't get grounded, because he has a 504. I was like, Whoa. You guys have taken the 504 way too far. So, you know, ADHD is your it's not your fault. Right? It's your responsibility. ByVal floors are not about what you can't do. They're about what you can do and how you can do it. So it took a I learned that the hard way. I'll never forget that.  

 

Jayson Davies   

You know, and if I recall, you're only you only have to live by the 504 rules if you're getting federal funding. So where are those parents federal funds? I want some of that federal funding. Right now. All right, cool. So we've talked a little bit about accommodations, I kind of also want to talk to you about environmental factors, and maybe some things that you might consider, aside from the accommodations, just general environmental adaptations that you may recommend to a teacher potentially. 

 

Lori Flynn   

So the first and foremost best environmental factor in a classroom, a couple. Alright, so visual schedule, visual schedule is like a, like a magical wand of help for just everybody. If I can go into the classroom, and I see, I can walk into a classroom, and I know what I'm supposed to be doing. Right now, at this moment, without talking to anyone I can look around and know that that child's going to really thrive in that classroom. Because this teacher is has a very structured classroom teaching, you have a visual schedule, you know what's coming up next, you know what you're supposed to be doing now. And the I love the ones that use the slideshow, it's like agendas, like oh, you know, it's math you need and then the I mean, you do it once, and you have it for the rest of your life, you just have this thing going, that is an amazing environment. But these students do very well in structured explicit environments. flexible seating is dreamy, and, but they can they can function without flexible seating, but I don't think they can function without the visual schedule. If a child has difficulty holding things in mind, and everything is being told to them verbally, these children really, really struggle with that. And that's all they they mean, most brilliant child you have in the room and they you said put my name and then you said put my last name and they only put their first name like that. All that verbiage isn't getting through. So to have things externalized essentially steps to all the procedures and routines. That is where we're going to see it's I call them visual schedules, but the visual schedule of where now later what I need, and it's just always visible. So if you get distracted, you come back, do you know where you are? 

 

Jayson Davies   

Gotcha. So making it easy for the child to find what they're supposed to be doing in the Moment.  

 

Lori Flynn   

Yeah. And what's coming next? And what's coming next takes a lot of the anxiety away. 

 

Jayson Davies   

When you're saying visual schedule, I think of like, literal pictures. Do you think it needs to be to that extent? Or depending on the grade? Can it be just like a, you know, words? And like, what? How do you sort that out? Or do you prefer one or the other? 

 

Lori Flynn   

I prefer the pictures. For a couple of reasons. The pictures give us a visual image of what done looks like. So that's very hard to imagine, if you're having difficulty holding things in mind, like, what does done look like? So when you have the pictures, you're able to almost children with ADHD have difficulty with episodic memory and future thinking because of that, that working memory. So it's hard for them to picture anything besides now, everything is now is now or not now. That's where they're living. So giving them the actual vision of the future, which is like the done product. What's next, in the picture form really, really helps it scaffolds learning. Yeah, do I want like the little peck icon of like, you know, math with the little numbers? Nope, you know, but a picture of the math books that they're supposed to have would be amazing. Because now they're going to build that visual memory 

 

Jayson Davies   

you're honest Canva and many other tools make it way too easy now to have to rely on specific programs.  

 

Lori Flynn   

And I could use video or canvas like the best thing ever 

 

Jayson Davies   

educators free account all you have to use your your work ID or your work email, and you should get a free Canva. Like the full thing, not the not the mini mini Canva. The full canvas software. So yeah, absolutely. 

 

Lori Flynn   

A picture of the desk, clean your desk. Right? Clean. It's time to clean desks is one thing in words and let's talk they're a great we can read. We know clean desks. But if you have a picture of what a clean desk looks like, you have solved the world's problems there. Because you're helping so many kids like Oh, stack the books there like that. It's just, we're not all aware of how many steps a clean desk really is, even though most teachers think that's a step. So with the picture, exactly. 

 

Jayson Davies   

like, yeah, 

 

Lori Flynn   

yeah. So yes, it's very different. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah. All right. So you I think you said that there might have been another environmental factor that you really liked to look into, you talked about the visual schedules, you're kind of on the fence, it sounds like you might have more than one. So I wanted to see if there was one more that you wanted to talk about in relationship to the environment, setting up the environment for success.  

 

Lori Flynn   

Setting up the back was, well, it's really more in the human context, it's the understanding piece. So it doesn't the environment, we need to expect that a child with ADHD is going and it's impulsive, is going to be impulsive. So when they come in, we are anticipating impulsive impulsivity. And we're anticipating the roadblocks and we're anticipating and setting up the environment with friction, you know, using it to and from, they talk about choice architecture, right? Like that's a consumer thing where they put you know, the grocery store has all like the junk food on the outer eye, the inner aisles, it's that you could do that with the classroom, it's the same thing you want to nudge children to make the right decisions. You don't want to have cupcakes sitting on the counter next to an impulsive child and then expect them not to eat the cupcakes like that come up, like but that type of stuff, just pointing it out, like let's, you know, put them here, put that here and nudge, nudge them and decrease the overload. So I always say like, the Plan B is the roadblocks when you look as the adult in charge of that child. And you look around for for those you're expecting. You really do set them up with success. So that's the big one is the just structured environment that is, you know, has I call choice architecture like it is nudging the kids like they don't have you don't put their supplies across the room. You put those supplies right at the desk, you any they're gonna if they're going to get a pencil they are not coming back like you cannot like the pencils are sharpened and ready to go like and that you're going to save that lesson just by having those pencils there. Do not allow that unsharpened pencil No, you're losing them that period like that type of thinking process and you need to have that by accepting. No I accept this student is going to be distracted. I'm ready. Let's do this. 

 

Jayson Davies   

We've all we've all seen that kid that takes 15 minutes to sharpen a pencil. Why? Yeah, yeah,  

 

Lori Flynn   

the bathroom trip. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Oh, yeah, 

 

Lori Flynn   

my OT room is near the bathroom. The OT room is near the bathroom. And I you know, it's fun looking. And I'm fun and the kids come wandering in. And I'm like, where are you supposed to be, the bathroom? Jump for a minute?  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah. All right. So we've covered some accommodations, some environmental aspects, structure pneus of the classroom. Now, let's talk about the actual services, you've dropped a few hints in regard to some things that you might key in on in regards to providing services for your students who, who who have ADHD or are struggling with some executive function and what not. But what are some things that you're going to consider very important when it comes time to choosing the type of services you're providing? 

 

Lori Flynn   

So depending on all the different factors, right, so they're, they're having difficulty. So I, again, I don't treat any type of diagnosis, right I treat the student is having difficulty with let's say, he's having difficulty with written expression and organization. It's just like, what everyone's having difficulty with that a treat. So I could work on written expression in organization in my room, but that is not going to help them in the classroom with 25. Other kids, they are going to be very well organized in my tiny room with just me, and they're going to be very well written in that extremely individualized novel, like totally speaking to their special interest writing prompt I give them it's going to be the best thing ever, because I know how to, you know, get the engagement. So I, you really need to be pushing in, which I know is so hard. But working with the student at the point of performance, anything outside that that point of performance is now going to say they need help in the now because time is now or not now, they need the help now. And they need it in the natural environment. So a lot of my sessions, I've learned this hack is that I put it, this all depends on your school and your IEP coordinator what it is they change like daily. So I put like, one in one out on the IEP services and the IEP. But it used to just put various locations. And then because they were they don't want that anymore because of the torque. So now I do one in one out. And because I there are some things, I still need to go back and skill build a little bit that I can't do in the classroom with everybody else. And it and so that one in one out, really, really helps me or does the three to one model, like the three times a month  

 

Jayson Davies   

three times? Yeah, I like to I call the one in one out that you're talking about I call it two to two because I think of in a month. So I call it the two to two model to kind of like the three to one models in a month. I called to to to one in one out one in one hour kind of going back and forth. So yeah, but yeah, I like that model. A lot.  

 

Lori Flynn   

Yeah. And if you need to be in more, you're okay, you don't have to go out because it's least restrictive. And I always put group because I do want them to do things with other people. But if I, if we need to work on something privately, you know, we could be individual. And then once a month, teacher console time that I vote that's on the IEP for every one of my kids, because I'm done. I'm done. I need the time to talk to the kid to dictate to the teacher. And I can make the time by doing that the teachers can't. So if I don't put it there, we're not talking. It's very interesting.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Laurie, you just became my best friend. No, I completely advocate for that as well having that extra console on there. Because if it's not on there, then really it's not required. And if it's not required, it's not going to happen. So,yeah,  

 

Lori Flynn   

and I've gotten subs for my teachers, so they can consult with me.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Oh, wow 

 

Lori Flynn   

 that's how you make best friends with a teacher? Yeah. Like, I'm not gonna take their problem, I get them a sub. Can I have a sub for this period? We need to really work together on this, of course, and someone gives them a sub and then it's not taking away. There's little strategies that are there to help them. That's our job. We are there support? Where support?  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, and again, if you don't want that on the IEP, if you don't put that on the IEP, it might be that much more difficult to get us up. I mean, it's hard to get us up in general, but at least if you've got console on your IEP, and you can tell your administrator Hey, I've got eight kids that I need to console with this teacher for then then you can justify potentially that sometime. Yeah, 

 

Lori Flynn   

we have. I mean, and a lot of schools have really, I'm going to say that in the past five years. I've seen a movement for more of the collaborative team model. Just in even just my tiny school like where we have like bi weekly to In meetings for like a classroom that has a lot of students with speech OT needs VC needs, and we all meet as a team. And that's talk about it. That's like a game changer. It really puts everyone on the same page. It's really amazing. So the more we see that I think the more it's going to be, well, of course, you need console time with the teacher, like it would be ridiculous not to have it, where it was like, What Why do you need that? What do you mean? And, you know, I have worked, where I never spoke to the teacher until the annual review. And then I would leave the annual review and go, Wow, I didn't know that about so and so I wish I would have talked to this teacher sooner. Do that a couple of times. And you you learn how important it is. But it's hard to to advocate in the system. But it really is a great model. And it's once a month. So if you have multiple kids, you just put in two slots into your schedule, and you can you wind up being able to see all the teachers like on a revolving basis.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, yeah, absolutely. All right. Let's, let's take, maybe Lori's time back a few years before her schools weren't so collaborative, and you weren't meeting with the teachers all the time. And you were just starting to push into the classrooms. That's hard, right? For those who are not yet pushing into the classroom? Do you have just one or two tips to kind of get started with that to make it a little bit easier to start having a productive session in a classroom?  

 

Lori Flynn   

So, teach the whole class that's going to teach the whole class, you do something fun. And the kids like you, you get the buy in of the teacher? In that moment. You're doing stuff for the teacher, you're helping the teacher, I have walked into a push them where they were reading a story, and I stood and watched. You know, the teacher read the kids a story and dying inside like, Oh, I'm not this is like, I can't this is wrong. Why am I here? Yeah. This but you know, things like that happen, move that time, you know, to a better time. If you can, otherwise, then that's not someone you could be pushing in with, it doesn't work. But if you could, so I would teach a handwriting lesson. I did like 10 weeks of kindergarten portions, where I just do like fine motor stuff. And then I was kinda like, I'm helping my student, but everyone else around and given the teacher tips, you build those relationships, they are begging you to come in next year, it's no longer a question about is it pushing? They're like, Well, what time is my IoT push in time? It's not. And it it just helps you share and I made a do not go on right do not go on was like a blocker for a kid that was going ahead and this math. So I said, Well, let's get something like very physical was the piece of paper laminated and they put it in like a bookmark. And when he got to the donut that said do not go in. And it was full sheet, he knew to stop. And it said you can and gave him some choices of what else to do. I didn't make one I made 25 laminated 25 of them and handed them to the teacher. Because everyone in the class use that because every one of the class goes on. So it became she still has it years later, she still uses it, I love it. And that's how you get like you you're you're going to someone's home, look at it that way, like your mom never go empty handed. That's funny, you're going to someone's home, you ask you don't tell them, you know, you're not the expert in that classroom. You inspire you don't instruct, and you teach the whole lesson, then you have to develop a relationship like, like everywhere else. And it really does help with the push in. It does not work when you walk in and say I have to push them with this kid, this is the time I'm coming. Oh, no, you need to do this change this to that it just they that will not work. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Agreed. You reminded me of your stop sign paper. They use that for all types of things. Like I remember taking a standardized test. And you'd get to the end of the math section and there'll be a big page there. Stop. So this isn't like it's something that is specific to working with a student with a disability. These are very common, I mean, maybe not common, but they're very usable strategies that work for all kids, not just for a student with a disability. 

 

Lori Flynn   

And a lot of things for ADHD are because we're all going to suffer from poor executive function some days. Because sleep sick, sleep deprivation, if you're sick, you're drunk. You have no executive functions. So they actually have an app you could put on your phone so you don't drunk dial people. I mean, you allow the ADHD research to come across these things. So like they are blocking the impulsivity of a person who's intoxicated, therefore lost their inhibition, which is that executive function skill, so they don't drunk, dial their boss and lose their job in the morning. And it's the same concept of what I'm doing. I'm helping someone with poor inhibition. So you aren't going to see these things being very, you know, mainstreaming type nothing. So odd in other two that help? That helps a lot. Yeah. So often, often, when they're given universally, universally, they help a lot of kids, because you're gonna see difficulties with working memory and inhibition and emotional dysregulation with a lot of different things in the classroom. So it does work really well universally.  

 

Jayson Davies   

All right. Well, our time is going by very quick, and we are kind of running out of time. So I have like two more questions that I really want to dive into. And for those listening, who have kind of struggled with getting maybe the support from others on campus, to support those with some of those, some of that event, executive functioning difficulties, self regulation, difficulties, they're really known as the handwriting specialists, the handwriting teacher, whatever it might be, what kind of tips might you have for them to kind of move on from just being the motor handwriting therapist, 

 

Lori Flynn   

I would well apply this knowledge to where you are, so you're innovating inside the box. So if you are working on handwriting with a student, and that is what others expectations are of you. Take a look at that handwriting from the lens of executive function, take a look at the inhibition and the working memory, and the cognitive flexibility that's needed in the you know, any written output, and then share that information with the people around you, and say, Okay, I'm gonna support this piece for that student's handwriting because of their ADHD. So you're innovating inside the box exactly where you are in your lane that people are expecting. So it's not disappearing, like you're breaking out and doing a new thing. Like you're, you're still doing your thing, which you're just doing it in a much more informed way. And that is you build slowly from there, because it will work. And people be like, Hmm, now, can we generalize that to something else, and then you slowly step up, in a way don't do anything radical, it doesn't work. To innovate inside the box. That's what, that's what I always say, like, just stay where you are, but go up a step. If you don't communicate with your teachers, send them an email once in a while, like go up a step.  

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah.  

 

Lori Flynn   

And I think that's really where you need to start. And then just share, I share a lot and they ask, like, Would you like me to send you some information about this? And if the teacher says, Yeah, you send us some one page, never more than one page, it's not being read. If it's more than one page, like literally one page. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Be careful. It can't even be an attachment because attachments won't get open. It's just got to be right there email. Yeah. 

 

Lori Flynn   

And you have to go learn marketing, like you have to have an attention grabber. Teacher, but they're busy. And there's so many of these. And they and, you know, most teachers are awesome people. They're teachers, they they're, they dedicate their lives to teaching children, we have a lot in common with them. But you just have to look at it from there and validate their point of view. And a lot of times when I do talk to teachers, I don't look at it. from the student's point of view. I approach it from the teachers point of view. So okay, what's the difficulty little Sally is I don't know who Sally is. But Sally's having in the class, wow, she must be how do you teach with her disrupting you like that? I literally validate and then look at it, like how do I get Sally to stop disrupting the teacher? And I just go about it in a way that validates them. And, you know, teacher recruitment is the term for teacher recruitment increases. 

 

Jayson Davies   

There you go. There is a golden nugget, if there was one for the episode. And there's been a lot of golden nuggets in this episode. I have to come back to one. You mentioned something earlier about automation of writing. And I didn't ask it in the moment because I wanted to continue on. But I know there's people out there listening, that wanted me to ask this question. You mentioned before third grade, you're really going to focus on that automation of writing. What about beyond third grade? Are you still focusing on automation of writing? Or are you using accommodations? Or what are you thinking about for those students who are in fifth, sixth, seventh, maybe even high school that have an automated writing? 

 

Lori Flynn   

I am not focusing on automating writing when they're older, because the speed in which the class is moving is so much faster than any type of gain that I can ever Build for that child. If I sat there and practice everyday handwriting with them, there's obviously a reason they're not automating it. And I'm not going to fix it in time. Not to say I would never I, I still want them writing is to want them saying their names, I still want them making lists. But I do not expect them to use their writing to learn. And there's a real big difference I expect them to write, but not to learn from what they're writing. I want them to use a way that works for them. So whether it be verbal speech to text typing, fill in the blanks, any type where I'm going to reduce the, the demands on that learning activity, because if that writing is not automated, it is in the way of learning. So I'm not going to use something that makes learning harder to learn. And when I put it that way to the team, it makes a lot of sense, like, oh, well, writing is very hard for him. Why would we add writing to geography, you know, so I removed the writing, so we could focus on the geography, but I don't ever stop them from writing. But in the older grades, their grades like wishy washy, right, so it depends where we are third grade, but like fifth grade and up, I am not working on making that child's handwriting any neater, because the more plans they have are automated. They may be incorrect, but they're automated, and they may be ineffective and make things harder, but they're their motor plants. Like you can see that in a handwriting sample, if you look at like a D, and it's written the same, upside down backwards way, the whole thing across, that's an automated D, try to change that D now, so think about geography, they're thinking about D, that you're impairing their ability to learn. 

 

Jayson Davies   

So and trying to make them take notes is just making the situation worse probably. 

 

Lori Flynn   

And think of the working memory and cognitive flexibility, and alternating attention, demands of taking notes, take out the visual piece, even just those cognitive demands of taking notes. And if you have difficulty with those demands, are you learning anything? Or are you just copying stuff? So in today's technology, we're like I can't. And I have to say I really haven't seen a lot. They are giving the kids the stuff now in the older grades because it's on the classroom. That's amazing. 

 

Jayson Davies   

Yeah, like, I mean, that's why I love podcasts, I can hit rewind, I don't have to worry about taking notes, I can go back and listen to it again. That's why right now, today, we are recording this session using what's called otter AI. So that way, we can go back and check the transcript. I don't have to take notes again, here, like notes is hard for me. And I figured that out sometime during my life. And I just stopped taking notes during class, I just listened. And that was more beneficial for me. I know that isn't for everyone. But that was definitely something that helped me was just understanding that I'm the exact opposite. I have to write it down or it doesn't go on my brain. So I can't listen to anything like I am holding myself back from writing notes. So but the fact that we know as adults, how we learn best, you know, taking some time to honor our students and figure out how they learn best and then advocating for them as an occupational therapist was kind of a huge part of your job. And they listen, when when we you know, the people and I know a lot of a lot of therapists have difficulty with parents that are like no, he needs to you need to work on his handwriting. His handwriting is horrifying. I can't even read this, when you explain it to them that, you know, he's gonna focus on Dean. So the geography, they get it. But no one's ever said that to them. All they see is and that problem with handwriting is such a visible difficulty. Like it's right there in your face. And people judge handwriting, they judge your intelligence by your handwriting. So I get it being very important. But we're talking about learning not handwriting, I mean, the purpose of school, the purpose of this classroom, and thank goodness for technology, then the technology is really going to help so many of our kids, and it's just getting better and better and oh my goodness. All right, Laurie? Well, it has been a real pleasure. But before I let you go, I want to ask Where Can anyone interested in learning more about you and more about using occupational therapy to support students with ADHD? Where can they go to learn more? 

 

Lori Flynn   

Well, I have the website which is www dot OT for adhd.com. And there's tons of free everything on there posts and ADHD fact sheets and and then I was going to make a little thing for the listeners of this where we could QR code. I was kind of throwing it around QR code, just like direct articles for certain issues. Like the issue was sitting or the issue with handwriting or the issue with I can't even think of all the issues there's lots of issues. But when I say issue is because there's not the candidate It's not the environments together, it's an issue. So I'm gonna put that up@www.ot for ADHC/school. 

 

Jayson Davies   

I think it's gonna be OT for adhd.com/ot schoolhouse, so her website and then add an OT schoolhouse at the end. And that will take you there. And if it's even easier, you can just head on over to OTSchoolHouse.com/episode 140 will have all the links there for you as well. So everything that we talked about, we'll put it right there for you. So you can find it easily. So, Laurie, one more time. Thank you so much. I really appreciate having you here today. And I look forward to definitely staying in touch because I know you have so much to share. And we just touched the surface of it today. So thank you. 

 

Lori Flynn   

Great, thank you. 

 

Jayson Davies   

All right, and that is going to wrap us up for episode number 140 with Laurie Flynn, be sure to check out all the resources from this episode over at OTSchoolHouse.com slash episode 140. And also be sure to check out Laurie over on Instagram at OT the number four ADHD, you won't regret it. She has so much valuable info there. And I know she's only going to continue to add even more value for every occupational therapy practitioner looking to support students with ADHD. All right, well, thank you so much for listening in today. I really hope you appreciate it this episode with Laurie Flynn. And once again, Lori, thank you so much for joining us. If you're listening to this episode over your holiday break, I hope you're having a wonderful break. And if you're listening to this and other time Well, thanks for joining us really appreciate you being here. And if you enjoyed this episode, I would love for you to give us a review over on Apple podcasts, Spotify, wherever you listen, five stars is wonderful. Or you know, just click that copy link and share it with a friend who would enjoy this episode. That means even more. So thanks again for tuning in. And we'll catch you next time on The OT Shoolhouse podcast. Take care. 

 

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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