Every child is different – and each approaches school issues including homework, in different ways. Occupational therapists understand and can accurately identify a child’s strengths, as well as the underlying reasons why they struggle in certain areas. Most importantly, a qualified OT can give a young student the tools they need to succeed.
Occupational therapy facilitates all aspects of the learning process – evaluating children’s skills for school and homework performance and then recommending and helping to implement long-term solutions.
Breaking down Homework Barriers
The main problems children tend to have with homework center around organization, working independently, knowing what to do, and turning in their finished product. Addressing these issues can dramatically improve students’ ability to “own” and successfully complete their assignments.
- A therapist can observe classroom routine and identify potential homework barriers. For instance, is a child having trouble listening to assignments because their desk is at the wrong height? They may be expending too much energy trying to balance, making it difficult to absorb what’s being said. Or, the classroom homework box may be hard for them to find.
- OTs can help teachers make their expectations clearer. For some students, homework assignments may be so obtuse that they simply can’t figure them out. Occupational therapists can assist teachers in delineating sequences of expectations in a more understandable manner.
- Therapists can work directly with students who have IEPs. If failure to complete homework is adversely affecting a child with an individualized education program, an OT can identify the reasons why and work directly with students, parents and teachers to make needed changes. For example, a child may be unable to complete an assignment because they lack the necessary tools. If their handwriting abilities are challenged, their therapist may suggest they use a computer to type their work or record an audio response.
A child’s main job is learning – and occupational therapists have a firm grasp on the physical and emotional components involved in a successful school experience. Therapists can help students:
- Pay better attention in class.
- Cope with school-related pressure or stress that may impact their ability to perform.
- Address physical issues such as building strength and enhancing motor skills.
Therapists also can suggest modifications to school tasks and equipment to meet children’s individual learning needs. If a student has difficulty sequencing or organizing an assignment, it can become overwhelming. In this case, the OT may suggest that the assignment be broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
In addition, therapists have a comprehensive understanding of children’s medications and the potential impact of mobility issues on effective learning. All in all, their involvement may mean enhanced self-esteem and a much needed sense of accomplishment for the child to whom homework is much more than just a normal school-day nuisance.
To learn more about tools and resources for your career as a school-based OT – or to access current job openings – contact the specialized team at Cobb Pediatric Therapy Services today.