Anatomy of an OT Room.
I’ve been wanting to write this post about my son’s Occupational Therapy room. I took the pictures of the OT room at the same time as I took the pictures of my son’s classroom desk way back at their Holiday Party. On that same day he spent some time in our OT room and I snapped a few pictures.
I thought it might be a good to take a seek peek and see what our OT room looks like.
When does he take a break?
Alex currently has three breaks worked into his daily schedule and he takes them every day. Period. They are built-in around morning and afternoon recess and lunch. Those are the most unstructured times and he usually needs some time to unwind after all the noise, bustle and general commotion.
When Alex gets stressed or needs additional breaks he goes down to the OT room for breaks as well. These additional breaks are prompted by either his para, general education teacher or resource teacher as he’s not currently able to do this himself.
He has a break card on his desk and he’s being prompted to use it for these additional breaks. When they see him becoming upset, they prompt him to register how his body feels and ask if he needs to take a break. He is never forced to take a break. We are working on helping Alex recognizing when his body and mind feel out of control or wiggly and getting him to recognize that it’s time to take a break before meltdowns occur.
I also communicate via e-mail when he’s had a particularly hard morning or if there was a change in routine at home so they know to keep an extra eye on him as well.
What happens in the OT room?
His para goes with him to the OT room. He is not allowed to wonder the halls by himself. If you have a roamer, it is helpful to specify that someone accompany and attend to your child while on break.
Once there, he picks three things to do based on what he’s seeking. There is a list of items to do in black and white velcroed to the wall. Once he chooses three, he sticks them to the yellow sheet on the wall. Then he does each activity for three minutes.
If he needs gross motor activities, he’ll choose the trampoline and then swing or ride the bike or scooter down the hallway.
Other times, when he’s been overstimulated, he’ll sit with his headsets on so he can calm down and center himself. Sometimes he does math games and mazes on the computer and other times he’ll update the wall calender.
There are times when his para picks out what he is to do if he’s not able to make a decision. We have it set up that he gets the opportunity to pick activities but if he can’t it will be chosen for him.
We have also had to deal with the situation where he used the OT room as an escape and a way to get out of unwanted activities. He was simply told that breaks were used to calm our body and they are not to be used to get out of “boring” work. We also increased the difficulty of his daily work so it would be less “boring.”
All of these accommodations are delineated, in writing, in his IEP.
As in the classroom post, feel free to add your own suggestions, comments or any other things you are doing in the educational setting.