OTSH 76: Diving into the Schoodles: School Fine Motor Assessment with the Authors



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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 76 of the OT School House Podcast.


Have you ever heard of the Schoodles School Fine Motor Assessment tool? I recently became aware of it and have now added it to my repertoire of evaluation tools that I can use.


In Episode 76 of the OT School House, I am welcoming to the podcast the Authors of the Schoodles Assessment to further understand for myself why this tool is so valuable and how we as OTs can use it to support our practice as School-Based OTs.


Please help me to welcome co-authors of the 4th edition of the Schoodles Assessment, Marie Frank, OTR/L & Monica Fortunato, OTR/L


About Marie & Monica


Marie Frank OTR/L Marie received her Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from the University of Minnesota in 1983. She went on to work in a variety of jobs and kept gravitating toward working with people with disabilities. She went back to school in 1994 and received a certification of the second major in occupational therapy from the College of St. Catherine. She has enjoyed working in public school systems ages birth to 21, clinical pediatric settings, and a regional pediatric treatment center. Marie has taught as an adjunct staff member at the College of St. Scholastica and provided clinical supervision to students. She has mentored occupational therapists in school settings. She is a presenter for Sensational Brain. She currently works with very young children and their amazing parents in Maplewood Minnesota. She lives in Stillwater Minnesota with her husband Ged


Monica Fortunato OTR/L Monica received her degree in occupational therapy from the College of St Catherine in 1983. She has worked in a variety of settings including psychiatric inpatient and community outreach. She currently provides occupational therapy for children in the charter schools of Los Angeles. Monica is Level 1 certified by Handwriting Without Tears and has created handwriting programs that have been featured in the Los Angeles Times and on BBC radio and is a presenter for Sensational Brain. She has mentored occupational therapists in school settings and is a USC certified Sensory Integration therapist. Monica lives in Hermosa Beach California with her son Carter and husband Robert.


Links to Show References:

Puzzle task - Part of the Schoodles School Fine Motor Assessment Tool












Episode Transcript

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Amazing Narrator

Hello and welcome to the OT School House podcast, your source for school-based occupational therapy tips, interviews, and professional development. Now, to get the conversation started here is your host, Jayson Davies, class is officially in session.


Jayson Davies

Hey there and welcome to the OT School House podcast. My name is Jayson Davies, and I am here with you today for the next hour or so because I know you're not gonna want to miss a moment of this one. This is an amazing episode that we have here I am interviewing Monica and Marie from the Schoodles Assessment. Some of you may have heard of the Schoodles Assessment. For others, this may be the first time you are hearing the silly word that is school and doodles put together to create an occupational therapy assessment called the Schoodles. You're not going to want to miss a second of this one because we are discussing the classroom skills as well as the support skills that the Schoodles Assessment tool addresses for occupational therapists. I am pretty new to the Schoodles myself. I've only used it a handful of times, but I'm looking forward to using it more in the future. And I know you will, too after hearing this interview. Not only are we going to get a quick introduction, actually a pretty extensive introduction into the Schoodles today. We're also going to quickly review the difference between a standardized and non-standardized assessment tool for anyone who's been out of school, I don't know maybe more than five years and just needs a little refresher on this. It actually really helped me so I'm happy that Marie shared that with me. So, let's go ahead and jump into our interview with Marie Frank and Monica Fortunato. They are both occupational therapists and sisters. Enjoy the interview. Hello, Marie. Welcome to the OT School House podcast. How are you doing today?


Marie Frank, OTR/L

I'm great, Jayson. How are you?


Jayson Davies

I'm doing pretty darn well. This is a Sunday afternoon. I'm enjoying myself and we just had a dog walk. So, the dogs happy. I'm happy. The wife is happy. Everyone's happy. We're so we're all good. How about you, Monica?


Monica Fortunato, OTR/L

I'm doing great, Jayson. It's great to be here with you. And just want to say thank you for everything that you do for school-based OTs. You are just pumping out the info and it's great to be a part of that.


Jayson Davies

Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Yeah, you know, we're on about Episode 75 ish now. And it's just amazing. We've been able to have some great conversations with OTs and I love it. So, let's go ahead and jump into it a little bit. Today we are talking about the tool that you all have developed, written, authored, which is on the fourth edition now. The Schoodle's fine motor assessment tool. And we're gonna get into all that today. But first, I'd love to hear about how you kind of got to where you are as an occupational therapist today. So, Marie, would you like to kind of share a little bit about your OT background?


Marie Frank, OTR/L

Sure. I have been an occupational therapist for over 20 years. And I started this with another occupational therapist. I felt disorganized, I can be very disorganized myself. And going into assessments, I would be in the assessment trying to come up with scissors or, or a shape to cut or, or something like that, and it didn't feel good to me. And the other thing that didn't feel kind of good to me as I would use the BOT and which is a great tool. But I wasn't feeling like I was getting enough information to speak intelligently about the student or get enough information to identify the need that the student had. So, we got together Amy Wang was the other therapist, she's awesome. And we started that about 17 years ago, I thought initially it was going to take about three months to put together and it took a lot longer than that because the more I dug in, the more I found I needed to dig in. And so, it took a while longer than that. And then about six years ago, Amy dropped off and Monica joined and Monica is my sister. So, this works out perfectly for us to have a business together. And Monica brought a whole new skill set to the operation, let's say and it's growing wonderfully because of Monica's expertise and ideas. So...


Monica Fortunato, OTR/L

Thank you, Sis.


Jayson Davies

I love it all I have to jump in real quick and then I'll let you go, Monica. I just love it because my family is also an OT family, my older sister is an OT. And that's how I came to find out about occupational therapy. My sister is about six years older than me. And so, by the time I was kind of heading into college, I was volunteering with her at a pediatric clinic and really learning about OT and then got to college. And that was the end of it, OTs. Yeah, so Monica, what about you? What has your OT career kind of look like?


Monica Fortunato, OTR/L

Well, I, like Maria have been an OT for a long time. I was an OT before she was and convinced her were great professional occupational therapy was OT you would love it. You'd be so good. And then, when I started a family and then took a few years off, and when I wanted to go back to work, Marie, at that point was a school-based OT and said, "You should be a school-based OT, you'll love it, you'd be so good." So, I went into school-based OT and that's when I started using Schoodles, you know, just taking it with me. And my first few months as a school-based OT, Marie gave me a lot of confidence. And you know, every day on my drive home, I would call her and ask questions. And as I started to use Schoodles, I was thinking of ways to make it better. Like, "oh, we could add this or what if we explored this area," and Marie loves research so much that she was doing the research. And then I was like, the boots on the ground, trying things. And that's how we came up with the fourth edition, which is the actual manual, we doubled in size added a lot more Student Workbook pages. And I know we'll talk a little bit more about everything that's in Schoodles in just a minute. But that we just interchange. I mean, my even though we're not twins, our mother says we're like twins that we read each other's mind. I don't know if that's true or not. But we work well together and feel like we have come up with something great.


Jayson Davies

That's funny, I like what you said about how you just kind of were using it. And then you're like,