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Indiana Occupational Therapy Association

Inclusion in Classrooms: OT's Role

  • Tuesday, November 07, 2023 10:22 PM
    Reply # 13276809 on 13275543
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I think it was very important that Varleisha called this a social justice issue. Not only is it a right but it is law that a child should have access to the least restrictive environment. I think because of the lack of resources (monetary, personnel, and temporal) in the school and the pace of it all, it is easy to forget or overlook how many strategies may be exclusionary. Perhaps phrasing it in this way can bring more attention to the importance of a paradigm shift in this way. However, there are so many systemic challenges in the school that it can be hard to know where to even start. I think it was helpful to see the breakdown of how these can be implemented at different levels, and the presenters did well to really tie it to the OTPF. I feel like what is often the challenge of bringing knowledge from a national level to a state level is the funding differences, and that still leaves a challenge to elucidate. Has anyone been successful in maximizing utilization of funding levels? 

    Last modified: Tuesday, November 07, 2023 10:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • Saturday, November 04, 2023 11:05 AM
    Message # 13275543

    AOTA recently partnered with the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) in presenting "Occupational Therapy: Leading the Way on Creating Inclusive Classrooms" through their Inclusive Leadership Webisode Series. You can listen to the webisode here: Inclusive Leadership Webisode Featuring AOTA - Zoom

    Do you find that your school administrators struggle to understand OT's role in the classroom? If so, this is a great webisode to share with them. The presenters begin with a foundational understanding of occupational therapy and our role in the classroom. They focus heavily on our role with participation, wellness, and mental health. There is also a focus on promotion and prevention. All are key areas for OT involvement. 

    Social and occupational justice guides our involvement in the classroom - "all students have the right to engage, learn, socialize, and grow with their peers." One of the presenters, Breanna Lynch, describes the promotion and prevention program they have established at her school with amazing outcomes in increased mental health intervention and decreased physical intervention (i.e. restraining, etc.) and expulsions. Programs such as hers come with many barriers such as administrator/teacher support, practitioner time, resources, payment sources, etc. 

    As OTPs in school-based practice, how do you meet the mental health needs of your students? Do you have resources and administrator support necessary to do so?  What information or strategies did you pull from the webisode that could enhance what you do in your practice to make your classrooms more inclusive? We would love for you to share any ideas or resources you have that could help others enhance inclusivity in their schools. 

    Thank you,

    Kristina Watkins

    Co-Chair, IOTA DEI Committee

    Resource: AOTA partners with the Council of Chief State School Officers to talk inclusive classrooms | AOTA

    Last modified: Saturday, November 04, 2023 11:06 AM | Anonymous member

indiana occupational therapy association

Since 1926, the Indiana Occupational Therapy Association has helped occupational therapists develop skills, connect with experts and ultimately provide better care to patients across the state.


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