Why is this project important to you? What issue does it address? Who will it impact?
#2 Time constraints, #4 has known teacher 20 years, #5 wanted an observation for instead, #6 – not sure she understands what this means
1. KINDERGARTEN PARTICIPATION CHECKLISTBringing Natick Up-to-Date One Step at aTime
2. PROJECT DESCRIPTION To improve the current occupational therapy evaluation process in the Natick Public Schools, an occupational therapy checklist covering typical skills needed by kindergarteners to participate in classroom and school related activities was developed to be filled out by kindergarten teachers. A survey assessing the administering occupational therapist’s perception of the checklist was developed to measure the effectiveness of the checklist for the purpose of writing participation-based occupational therapy evaluations.
3. PROJECT PURPOSE To bring Natick OT evaluations and therapy up to date with the 1997 reauthorization of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act. At the onset of this school year my case load was 100% pull out services. Headings for our current evaluations address component areas (e.g., ocular motor skills, postural strength and stability, fine/visual motor skills). Referral information, classroom observations, and teacher interview are not the norm when performing OT evaluations. Formal opportunities for general education curriculum training for OTs and PTs do not exist.
4. THE PROCESS Reviewed course content from PASS institute. Contacted 3 kindergarten teachers (2 out of district, 1 in district) to get a sense of a typical daily schedule and expectations for their students across performance areas (e.g., self-help skills, classroom participation, social participation, materials management). Reviewed Massachusetts Kindergarten curriculum guidelines Envisioned new headings for OT evaluations to use as headings in the kindergarten checklist. Decided to go with headings suggested by Jan from PASS institute. Initially intended to make a questionnaire, but checklist format won out because of ease in completion for teachers.
5. THE PROCESS CONTINUED…. Planned on having teachers rate the checklist for effectiveness. After reflection and feedback from peers, I realized the true intention of the project was to facilitate improved OT evaluations, so I needed to survey the OTs to see if this tool was useful for that purpose. Then developed a kindergarten checklist survey for the OTs to fill out to assess the usefulness of the information gathered from the checklist for writing participation based OT evaluations. In the spirit of collaboration and improving teacher’s understanding of the role of OT in the school system a question was added to the end of the checklist to assess whether it was helpful in improving the teacher’s perception of the role of OT.
6. THE PROCESS GOES ON…. Planned on having all the OTs in Natick (a whopping 3 total!) administer the checklist to a kindergarten teacher whose student was being evaluated this fall. This backfired since there were no kindergarten kids up for OT evaluations. Instead had the OTs use the checklist with a current teacher and kindergartener on their caseload, explaining the intension of the project was to use the information gathered from the checklist to inform our clinical reasoning when writing a participation-based OT evaluation.
7. MORE PROCESS…. Met with the principal of one of my elementary schools, and with the special education director, to discuss the content of the institute. Both were very excited and supportive of the shift toward collaborative goals, working in the least restrictive environment (moving away from pull out services), and developing an evaluation template that reflected classroom participation. The OT and PT department was a different story! One OT was in favor of the change. The other OT and two PTs were resistant to change. The main fear was loosing their “professional identity” and in turn job security. The less favorable OT was under the impression that the checklist was intended to replace a classroom observation (instead of complimenting one), which skewed her responses when completing the survey.
8. END GOAL I set out to create a questionnaire for kindergarten teachers to fill out to gain participation-based referral information for students who were going through the OT evaluation process. While I did not get to test-run the checklist on a student going through the evaluation process, four checklists were utilized with a total of 4 teachers and three OTs (myself included) for students currently receiving OT services. In retrospect, the beginning of kindergarten is not the best time for a student to be evaluated since they have not had a chance to be exposed to the curriculum and the routine of being in school. Administering the checklist in the middle of the year may have been more realistic. The checklist provided a framework to initiate a paradigm shift among the OT/PT staff toward more collaborative and participation based evaluation and treatment processes.
9. MEASURING EFFECTIVENESS Results of the two Occupational Therapists who completed the effectiveness survey……..
10. YES SOME NO N/AMEASURING EFFECTIVENESS WHAT1.)Was the checklist easy to administer? ✓✓2.)Was teacher feedback positive toward the ✓ ✓checklist?3.) Did you receive it back from the teacher in a ✓✓timely fashion?4.) Did the checklist support your rapport ✓ ✓building with the teacher?5.) Did the checklist include relevant information ✓ ✓needed to write a participation-basedevaluation?6.) Did the information gathered from the ✓ ✓checklist assist you in writing participation-based goals and objectives?7.) Did the information obtained from the ✓ ✓checklist drive your evaluation process(e.g., influence your classroom observation –scheduling/inform your clinicalobservations, assist in choosing evaluation
11. MEASURING EFFECTIVENESS CONTINUED Teacher question response of the four teachers who utilized the checklist: Did this checklist assist you in gaining a better understanding of school participation-based areas supported by school-based occupational therapy services?
12. THE RESULTS…… 25% 50% YES 25% NO SOMEWHAT
13. UNEXPECTED EFFECTIVENESS MEASURE Checklist proved to be a good tool to use for the Child Study and RTI process. Used the checklist to provide strategies for a struggling kindergarten student. Completed checklist and strategy suggestions were reviewed by child study team with positive feedback. The checklist will now be use for future child study cases.
14. NEXT STEPS Create student participation-based checklist for other grades. Revamp the evaluation template – in the works! Write collaborative participation based goals and objectives. Continue to educate myself and related service staff on current research regarding best-practices for school-based clinicians. Move from direct service model to in-class therapy and consultation on upcoming IEPs. Develop a “work load” schedule and an operational definition of the role of the occupational therapist in the Natick public school system. For related service providers to participate in general education professional development opportunities. Develop a related services website for the Natick Public Schools.