Teachers gearing up for Occupational Therapy at schools

12 April 2012

The much-loved Compass Occupational Therapy (OT) program is entering its third year in 2012. The program, which is being undertaken with Bexley, Condell Park, Kogarah and Wattawa Heights Primary Schools this year, will help students from kindergarten to year 2 to develop and maintain their motor skills to carry out everyday tasks.

Last week, teachers from the participating schools met in the virtual classroom using the connected classroom technology for a professional development session facilitated by Sharon Pierce. Sharon is an experienced OT practitioner who supervises the University students during their placement. The session was aimed to assist teachers in identifying children who will benefit from the OT program.

The early detection of motor delay and its remediation have been recommended from as a far back as 1991. For example Smyth et al (1991) suggest early detection and remediation of the child's problems in order to alleviate "feelings of incompetency, inadequacy, depression, frustration and anxiety". Losse and Henderson (1991) recommend early detection and treatment to prevent long-term effects on social development and academic achievement.

OT students and the schools will be working through a collaborative consultation model that allows them to work with both the whole classroom and with small groups of school students, throughout term two and term three. The 3rd and 4th year University students will be working with the K - 2 children who have been identified by the teachers.

Losse, A., Henderson, S.E, et al., (1991). Clumsiness in Children - do they grow out of it? A 10-year follow-up study. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology, 33:55-68

Smyth, T.R. et al, (1991). The South Australian Motor Screening Test: An evaluation. Australian Journal of Early Childhood, 16(2): 33-37