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Reducing School-Based OT Referrals

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a school-based OT who isn’t inundated with initial referrals and triennial evaluations.

If it’s not one, then it’s the other that has you burnt out looking like this ----------------->

Last year, the ‘16-’17 School year, I completed 61 assessments with 25 of those being initial assessments. The year before that, I was closing in on 70 evals with 38 of those being initials.

When I look at those numbers, I see two things. I see a nice decrease in the number of initials.

But More Importantly, I see the hours wasted assessing kids when I could have been providing effective & proactive treatment.

From the file review and interviews to the observations to standardized testing, they all take up time. Then you have to score the testing, synthesize the results, and write it all up! Don’t forget the IEP you now must attend. You are easily looking at several hours worth of time put in for each assessment.

Time to make the Change!

What would it look like like if we were to back some of that time assessing and replaced it with occupations that could be helping far more kids while preventing new referrals?

As I like to put it, I can help a single kid, or maybe even a small group of kids, once a week for 30 minutes after completing an assessment.

Or, I can assist a teacher for one hour a week and help who knows how many students. 30, 60? It really only depends on how long that teacher teaches for.

My Proposition: Help Your Teachers!

You have got to help the teacher, your principal, or whoever it is who is thinking about referring student to you. You can’t wait for them to come to you with the name of a student. You are too late at that point.

A Special Education Lawyer will tell you, once an educator has approached you with a concern about a specific student, you are required to do an assessment. Even though you feel the student obviously doesn’t need skilled OT, you are obligated to completing that eval simply because a teacher has asked you for a child-specific solution rather than a general strategy.

With that being said, over the next few weeks we are going to share specific actions you can take to reduce the amount of referrals you receive while helping more kids than ever.

This will not, and is not meant to, get rid of all referrals, but it should help to prevent a few unnecessary ones. It helped me to reduce my referral count by 13 or about 30%.

Isn’t that what we all want in life? Less evals and more fun therapy time?

So, why wait? Let’s get started! Click Here to read the first installment of the Reducing Referrals series. The first article in the series in about full classroom RTI2 /MTSS groups and how you can get started reducing your referrals today!

Also, please do share below what you are doing in attempt to reduce the amount of referrals you receive.

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