3 Things I’ll Be Doing as an OT in the New Year

Categories: OT Perspective
As we start a fresh year, I like to take some time to reflect on my personal as well as my professional life.  I am so lucky to have the amazing opportunity to work with my students, families and teams as a school-based OT.  However, there are still daily challenges and areas in which I would like to grow.  I will be honest- I am not the best at sticking to resolutions that are too big or overwhelming. Therefore,I am choosing to focus on 3 things I am already doing in my practice, but want to do even more of in the new year.  Here they are!

More Time Outdoors

This could actually be a personal and professional goal!  There are so many benefits to spending time outdoors – I wrote a whole post about it here!  Unfortunately, I live in an area with very cold and brutal winters, which makes consistent year round outdoor time very challenging. Even so, spending time outdoors in every seasons is so beneficial.  I heard someone say once that there is no bad weather, only bad clothing – and I have really tried to take that to heart!  In my professional role, many of my students do have an opportunity to go outside daily for recess.  However, I plan to encourage my teachers to allow an extra recess or to consider incorporating an additional outdoor opportunity such as a walk around the block.  In one classroom, we have started gathering extra hats and gloves so that all students will be able to participate even if they forget their items.  In the warmer months, I would love to bring my OT groups outdoors, even just for part of the time!

More Sensory Play

I have already written a whole post about the benefits of sensory play that you can check out here.  I try to incorporate this for my students who enjoy it in various ways, such as playdoh during quiet time, options for messy materials during OT group such as paint or shaving cream.  Some students do not enjoy messy sensory play, and that is ok.  For the students who do though, I find it to be very regulating and engaging.  I want to build on what I am already doing, and expand opportunities for students to engage in these activities more consistently even when I am not in the classroom.

More Meaningful Activities

I already do my very best to incorporate my students’ interests and preferred items into my therapy sessions.  I find this much easier to do with my younger students, who are often very motivated to participate in therapy sessions while utilizing various sensory tools or with preferred toys such as LEGOs.  With my older students, I find this to be more of a challenge.  Many of my older students do not like engaging in writing or pencil and paper activities, especially about topics that they are not interested in.  Many classroom tasks require students to do these exact things!  I want to continue to build on the rapport I have with my students in the 1:1 setting, to encourage them to engage in meaningful writing activities using whatever tools they prefer.  I want to continue to introduce and practice technology tools that will benefit my students as well as self-advocacy skills so they can practice asking for what they need.  My hope is that we can then work together to transfer these skills into the classroom.

Happy 2024!  If you have any thoughts on what you would like to do ‘more’ of in this new year, drop them below!


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