OTSH 89: Handwriting & Beyond with Dr. Beverly Moskowitz, DOT, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA


OT School House Podcast Episode 72 journal club how much of school is fine motor anyways?

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Welcome to the show notes for Episode 89 of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast.


In this episode of the OT Schoolhouse Podcast, we have a very special guest with decades of experience in helping therapists, teachers, and adults around the world to support students with handwriting difficulties.


Dr. Bev is a nationally recognized speaker with 43+ years of experience as an Occupational Therapist. As a school therapist, she serviced more than fifteen school districts, visiting over 60 individual schools. She has experienced the shift of practice in the schools over the years and shares her knowledge with us in this interview.


A creative entrepreneur, determined researcher, and tireless professional, she is also the author of The Size Matters Handwriting Program. Currently used in every state and 5 continents, its concept-driven approach to teaching and remediating handwriting has been proven effective at a .001 level of significance in the largest research study ever done on handwriting.


I am excited to have Dr. Moskowitz joining us to talk about all things School-Based OT.


You can listen to the audio version above or on your preferred podcast player. Or you may watch the interview below. Either way, I hope you enjoy this episode of the OT School House Podcast!





Links to Show References:




Transcript

Download the Transcript or read the episode below!

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Jayson Davies

Hello there, and welcome to the very first episode of 2022. I cannot believe that I am saying that. But welcome to 2022 Thank you so much for taking the time out of your early week or maybe the second week, or maybe you're listening to this a lot later. But thank you for taking the opportunity to listen to this podcast. Today we have a very special guest who in the world of school-based occupational therapy probably needs no introduction, but I'm going to give her one anyway, we have on the wonderful the talented, the evidence-based Dr. Beverly Moskowitz of the Size Matters handwriting program and the realotsolutions.com website. I'm so excited to have Beverly on today. Many of you have probably seen her in the halls of the AOTA conference, or maybe your state associations, she just has so much energy, so much passion for occupational therapy, and also a passion for the research behind occupational therapy. So I'm excited to have her on this day. We are not only going to talk about her size matters handwriting program, but also a future endeavor that she is working on. But we're also going to have Beverley talk a little bit about her experiences as a school-based occupational therapist. She has been a school-based occupational therapist for several decades. And so she's kind of seen our profession evolve over the years back when we didn't even really participate in IEPs and IEPs were very unofficial to where we are today where an IEP is the backbone of every single student that we see for the most part unless we're doing five-oh fours and RTIs or students study teams, SST's or whatnot. So be sure to put that phone away, put it in your pocket, and just enjoy this episode. It is so much fun. This is actually a recording of a live episode that Beverly and I did together on YouTube. And if you'd like to watch the video, the recording of the video that we did, you can do that at otschoolhouse.com/episode 89. Or you can just continue to listen and you will get the audio version of that right here right now. So stay tuned. Enjoy the episode, and I like to welcome to the OT Schoolhouse podcast, Dr. Beverly Moskowitz. Enjoy the episode. Hello, hello, everyone, and welcome to a very special edition of the OT Schoolhouse podcast. Thank you so much for being here this afternoon and evening with us today. I am your host, Jayson Davies. And if you are here, please just type into the chat, let me know that you're here. Maybe type in there where you're from, or if you're an occupational therapist, or an occupational therapy assistant just helps us to feel a little bit more involved and engaged when we see that chat going on. And we really appreciate that. So if you can take a moment to go ahead and let us know that you are on in the chat. We really appreciate that. Awesome. We have Andres here from an occupational therapist from Illinois. Thank you so much for being here. I'm just thanking you for typing into the chat. I'm just making sure we've got everything set up for our questions. Thank you all. We already have 10 likes here have, I believe Around 20 people or so watching live. So we really appreciate you being here this evening, this afternoon with us and we're actually going to go ahead and get started. We have a very special guest today. Her name is Dr. Beverly Moskowitz, and she is an OT a doctor of occupational therapy. She is a fellow of the AOTA Association. She has done the research. And as many of you probably know, she is the creator of the Size Matters handwriting program, and also the owner at realotsolutions.com. So I'm very excited to welcome to our show, Dr. Beverly Moskowitz. So there you see her right there. Before I dive in and say hello to Beverly real quickly. Thank you, Tanya. Thank you, Jennifer. Thank you, Debbie, Aaron. All these showing up really appreciate you being here. So let's go ahead and let's dive right into it. Welcome to the show. Dr. Beverly Moskowitz. How are you doing today?


Beverly Moskowitz

I'm great. I'm excited to be here too. I have to share with everybody. This is my first podcast. So I'm a little nervous on my end that I speak all the time. But honestly, when I'm in front of a camera or a microphone, sometimes it's like I don't even know English. So I hope that this is coherent and fun for you. I am excited to go forward.


Jayson Davies

Absolutely. And as I mentioned, you know this is very different. Usually when we record a podcast simply for the OT Schoolhouse podcast. We do it without an audience but today we have a live audience As everyone here from all over the country, and it's just it's going to be an exciting show. If we have some time, in the end, we'll do some Q&A, which will be even more fun. We don't usually get to do that on a podcast on all audio podcasts. So, yeah, I'm excited to get right into this. And, you know, the first thing I wanted to ask you actually is about your early career and how you found your way into pediatrics and working as an occupational therapist with kids in schools.


Beverly Moskowitz

Well, first, I have to share, I'm doing this for 46 years, I can't even believe that much time went by it goes by in a blink. So I graduated in the 70s. In the 70s, you could practice with a bachelor's degree. So I got a BS from the University of Pennsylvania no longer even has a program anymore. And back then you had two rotations, you did adult rehab you did or rehab and psychiatry if you want to do pediatrics, you had to do an extra three months. I always knew I wanted to work with kids. And so I chose to pursue the third rotation. We call them internships back then. Their fieldwork right now. But I always knew that I wanted to work in peds only this big, to begin with, so bigger than the kids.


Jayson Davies

That's funny. Yeah. And so what was your first job, actually? Did you end up directly into a school? Or were you in a clinic? Or what did that look like?


Beverly Moskowitz

Okay, so, first of all, there weren't a whole bunch of jobs out there. Hospitals, or odd children's clinics, their school practice wasn't a thing. So you really had to be created if you want to work with kids. And ultimately, you had lots of little contracts. My first contract was in a residential facility. And no back. This is the 70s that kids were kind of warehouse and I hate to say it, but that was a reality of life. If you had a severe disability you were put into an institution. So I worked in an institution for a few months, I didn't love it. And then I got an opportunity to go to the St. Edmund's home for Crippled Children. And that's what they called it back then they use that language because they wanted to get the donations and the sympathy money. And they needed a department head, I had only been working two months, I became the department head. I was at the department of one. So I worked at St. Edmund's for two years, I will share with you my career just took off. The church was very generous in sending me to every single course that I ever got a flyer for. And I do encourage everybody, if there are new graduates out there amongst you, every time that you can read something, take a course listen to a podcast, apparently they're educational. Do it, do it, I took everything out there. And I really felt like my learning curve had been expedited. And then after that, I got involved with a consulting group. So get back in the 70s, there was an institution called Pennhurst that had all of these disabled adults, and it had been decided that was inhumane. So different agencies were bringing these disabled adults into the community in group homes. I became the coordinating consultant for and I'm talking to you from Philadelphia, right now, Philadelphia and the surrounding counties. I went to all of these group homes and created programs for the staff to do with the people that were living in these homes. And I traveled the entire city I put a lot of mileage on. But again, in terms of could you work in pediatrics, you could work in related developmental disability fields. So I would do that for a few hours. But then I would also work in a preschool center, and then I would do a sheltered workshop. And I would do some other residential facilities or home care like I worked 15 different contracts. I, when I started to work in schools, was still juggling a whole bunch of contracts. But none of it was ever a full-time job. If you got a few hours in a school, that was that day, Tuesday mornings, I'm in this particular school district, then I got one that was an hour and a half. I mean a day and a half of work. So you, you stitched all of your contracts together to make a living. Now, of course, schools have multiple therapists, but I was the only one for around 15 different school districts. I visited more than 60 different schools, sometimes as many as seven in a day.


Jayson Davies

Wow. Wow, that's a lot. Wow. Yeah. And you know, as you mentioned now it's very different whether you work for a district in itself or even a contractor. You're primarily going to be in the schools. There are some contractors that will still have you maybe come back to the clinic and the Afternoon or something like that. But for the most part, we kind of stick to either clinic-based or school-based, which is very different than what you were doing where you'd have so many different contracts at a time. So yeah, that's pretty crazy. You mentioned that you had to go and get some training. At that point in your career very early in your career, what was concerning to you? Or what did you feel like you needed to learn in order to do your job? And what did you reach out for?


Beverly Moskowitz

So um, I learned a lot of stuff in school, but I wasn't really sure if I was being effective. I, I've always had the drive to know that my time was worth it. It was worth it to me, it was worth it to the person I was working with. And I made a difference. So there was a lot of back then we were not an evidence-based profession. But because I had this internal drive, I was always testing myself to see if I could make a difference. Was I being effective in school? Was I being effective at home? Did people really enjoy the fact that I had been there? Did I make a difference there? So I was reading, I was learning I was taking courses, I was trying everything, you could play around a lot more than that actually was kind of nice. Now, evidence-based practice is definitely the way to go. But when we had no evidence, you were doing your own experimentation all the time. And I was always creative and always trying things out. And that's kind of how they have already played around back then.


Jayson Davies

Yeah.


Beverly Moskowitz

But I Yeah, it was more loosey-goosey. And I had to be resourceful. We didn't have any internet. You know, you had to go to conferences and learn from your colleagues.


Jayson Davies

Yeah. And you mentioned how and before we got on here, you actually just mentioned how you didn't even have to do paperwork back then. And just helping somebody.


Beverly Moskowitz