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  • 1.  Processes and communication to support kids receiving OT, speech, PT

    Posted 10-20-2022 03:08 PM
    Hello!

    I wonder if anyone else feels like there is a greater need for speech and OT this year? I may just be seeing what I'm expecting to find, but we seem to have more children who would benefit from outside support.

    To that end, I have different professionals who work with parents and bill them directly, while providing services here at school.

    I'm also using some of our COVID money this year to have OT and Speech professionals observe in classrooms and give teachers ideas for how to make their classrooms more supportive for kids who need help.

    What I'm wondering is this: have any of you put systems in place to help manage all the details and increase communication between outside support professionals, parents, and classroom teachers? It seems that we are not kept in the loop.

    We are a single school, not part of a district and not part of a corporation. I used to work in public school, and feel like I need to set up a preschool version of an ARD meeting and guidelines for how often to meet, who initiates communication, etc. I also feel like I'd like to update my enrollment forms to encourage parents to share results of evaluations, which I often do not receive.

    Thanks in advance for any advice you can share!

    My Best,
    Nina Burrows

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    Nina Burrows
    Preschool Director
    FUMC Preschool
    Fort Worth TX
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  • 2.  RE: Processes and communication to support kids receiving OT, speech, PT

    Posted 10-21-2022 07:12 AM
    Hello,
    Unfortunately for us it depends on the person who is providing services. We are in an independent school but receive support from the public school system. We are not invited to meetings unless the family invites us.

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    Allison Croce
    Bristol CT
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  • 3.  RE: Processes and communication to support kids receiving OT, speech, PT

    Posted 10-21-2022 08:03 AM
    Hello Nina,
    Yes, being a private provider, we need express written permission from the parents to communicate with the specialists involved in the child's care. We do have a form letter that the parents can sign and provide to the specialists, granting us permission to communicate about the support being offered. It gives permission to the center director and/or the teachers. We also set up meetings with the parents and ask them to invite the specialists or to bring specific feedback to the meeting. It's definitely more challenging to stay in the loop if the parents are not forthcoming but hopefully, they see it as a team effort!

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    [Dawne] [Morison]
    [Assistant Director Administration & Research]
    [University of Florida Child Development & Research Center]
    [Gainesville] [FL]
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  • 4.  RE: Processes and communication to support kids receiving OT, speech, PT

    Posted 11-08-2022 12:15 PM
    Thank you, Dawne!
    A form letter might help me be more efficient. It is a challenge!

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    Nina Burrows
    Preschool Director
    FUMC Preschool
    Fort Worth TX
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  • 5.  RE: Processes and communication to support kids receiving OT, speech, PT

    Posted 10-21-2022 09:04 AM
    It sounds as if you are on the right track.  Try the process and see if you need to tweak it or not.  And, yes there are more children showing up with speech issues at our Center as well; the majority needing speech therapy are boys.  Let us know how things turn out for you.

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    Sharon Miller
    Director of Administration
    King's Kids Christian Academy of Tampa, Inc.
    Tampa FL
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  • 6.  RE: Processes and communication to support kids receiving OT, speech, PT

    Posted 11-08-2022 12:17 PM
    Thank you, Sharon!
    We've gotten an SLP to offer parent classes, and while turnout is small, the parents who have shown up are parents we are excited to see at the meeting (whose children have speech delays).

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    Nina Burrows
    Preschool Director
    FUMC Preschool
    Fort Worth TX
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  • 7.  RE: Processes and communication to support kids receiving OT, speech, PT

    Posted 10-21-2022 12:54 PM
    I have definitely noticed the speech delays are more prevalent now.  In my opinion, it is due to the mask wearing caused by the pandemic.  Because, as babies and toddlers, many of these children missed out on the opportunity to see mouths form words, there was interference in the normal way that these children learned speech.  It will take lots of patience and, yes, therapy, for some of them to overcome this delay.

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    Catherine Awong
    Director
    Mililani Presbyterian Preschool
    Mililani, HI, USA
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  • 8.  RE: Processes and communication to support kids receiving OT, speech, PT

    Posted 10-21-2022 01:02 PM
    Not sure if I would associate the speech delays with the wearing of masks, but I don't discount your experienced observations either.  We were experiencing boys, more so than girls coming into our Center needing speech therapy, prior to COVID.  Just not sure what to attribute the increase to until research helps to guide us.  Thanks.

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    Sharon Miller
    Director of Administration
    King's Kids Christian Academy of Tampa, Inc.
    Tampa FL
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  • 9.  RE: Processes and communication to support kids receiving OT, speech, PT

    Posted 11-14-2022 03:23 PM
    Hi Nina,

    I'm a pediatric OT and came to say that you're correct. We are seeing more global delays and needs across the country, referrals at schools are more than OT/PT/SLP's can keep up with. Pre-pandemic we know that there was an incidence of 1 out of 6 children that had a developmental delay. I have not heard any updated numbers on this since the pandemic, but we all know anecdotally that it has certainly increased.

    Best practice for an OT/SLP/PT working in ECE is for push in services within the child's natural environment. If you choose to contract with a local therapy provider to provide services within your preschool setting, I would be very clear  in your contract that the expectation is for those service providers to push in to the classroom for the majority of their session and not remove a child from an educational setting, as the goal should always be for the child to return/remain within the educational setting to practice skills in a functional manner. In this way, classroom teachers are able to be coached and mentored on how to manage difficulties such as transitions, play skills, initiation and persistence of tasks, self care, speech strategies, coordination cues and modifications and adaptations of tasks (etc...) Although students may be removed for short term focused intervention- the classroom teacher should always be aware of what is happening and for what benefit and how to carry over strategies.

    Universal design for learning should be the over-arching frame of reference that the therapy provider operates from when entering into an ECE space.  Within the context of your therapist's client, your provider should come alongside that client on whole class activities to support developmental milestone achievement within the natural educational environment. Additionally, written record of how to carry over tasks or adaptations within the child's environment should be provided for carryover at home and at school. It is standard practice that therapy providers have home programs that are provided to school and home.

    The bottom line is that no therapist will make much difference in the life of a child in the 30-60 minutes of therapy they receive in the classroom if there is not a collaborative team approach especially from the teachers and parents that are with that child the other 23 hours a day 7 days a week. We are and always will be better when we all work together and it's ok to advocate for best practice for the children and families you serve in your community.

    If you choose to use COVID funds to access a therapy provider to consult within your educational setting, I would consider being very explicit about your expectations that your investment of having them present for consultation is also an investment in your staff for real-time training. Additional strategies I have used in the past as an OT in ECE is I create a "back and forth" book so that I can jot down a quick blurb about what we did in therapy at school, what I told teachers, what I'd like for parents to do, how the kiddo responded and what I'm planning to do next time I see their kiddo. This is also pretty standard practice. If your therapists don't do it, make it a policy for anyone working with kiddos in your building must follow. It is best practice and can be as quick as a checklist with the therapist's contact info if there are questions that parents or teachers have.

    I hope this post helps and doesn't sound too confusing, I'm happy to clarify as needed.




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    Tia Gamelin
    Occupational Therapist
    Blackbird Therapy Group LLC
    Littleton CO
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