I very much enjoyed presenting the ‘Therapy In School’s Cool’ workshop with Megan Ingram Speech Pathologist on Monday. The energetic group of speech pathologists and occupational therapists shared their comments, questions and ideas generously, I learn a lot when I present workshops. During the research phase the is reading and collaborating with experts and co presenters, this serves to sharpen my thinking, knowledge wise and how to present it clearly. On the day there is the wonderful opportunity to facilitate the expertise sitting in the room. Have workshop will travel, we are really happy to bring the day’s workshop to you and your local allied health group, get in touch if you are interested.
Throughout the day we explored ways to work even more effectively and efficiently with school staff. One idea that resonated was the use of a teacher questionnaire. Those that use such a document reported that it helped get great information about the student and fast tracked the working relationship with the teacher. This has certainly been my experience.
The design of a questionnaire needs to thought out. What will work best for the therapist and their business – short answers to questions, tick the box, whole child questions or very discipline focused questions. Will printed paper and posted or electronic and emailed work best from a business systems point of view. There are always a few options and the topic of a questionnaire makes for a great team building discussion.
Tip. It is important to state how the information will be used and that is may be shared with other team members and parents. On occasion the teacher questionnaire has raised issues that families were unaware of, this took some diplomatic conversation but a solution was reached.
I currently favour about six questions that specifically target the student’s current level of participation and independence in the school environment. It is messaged in very positive and collaborative terms and I nearly always receive terrific, detailed information. For me this data provides me with a snap shot of what to follow up on during my school visit when time and teacher conversations are at a premium. It also cues me into the teacher’s area of concern enabling me to start from this point with specific questions and clinical observations. This saves time by cutting to the chase and guides me to relevant support suggestions for the student. The teacher questionnaire also helps me gather a sense of to what degree the teachers concerns, my own concerns and the families align.
The current teacher questionnaire that I use is now available for sale as a fully customizable download from my website’s shop. The intention is that is saves occupational therapists and practice owners admin time, freeing up for what they like best, working with children and families.
There is a lot of amazing work quietly going on in our primary schools. My genuine thanks go out to teachers for all that they do and for the time they find to collaborate with allied health professionals to best serve students with special needs.
Occupational Therapist, Disability Service Consultant, Coach, Facilitator.