At Oakwood, Speech/Language and Occupational Therapists work closely with our faculty to meet our students’ needs in these important areas. We understand the impact of skills in these areas on academic progress and students’ self-esteem. The therapists and teachers frequently confer on integrating these skills.
In our Elementary Programs, the Speech/Language and Occupational therapists go into the classroom on a regular basis to teach students important skills.
Speech/Language groups focus on pragmatic communication skills. These lessons target social skills such as turn-taking in conversations, using your manners when receiving a present, how to call a friend to ask them to come over, etc. Teachers and therapists collaborate on topics to help the class as speech/language needs are identified.
At the beginning of the year, Occupational Therapy groups focus on introducing students to the ALERT program to monitor their attention level. Students learn strategies to help themselves when their “engines” are running too fast or to slow – taking a short movement break, chewing gum, riding the stationary bike, using a wedge cushion on their chair, etc. After students understand these options, the focus of the lesson changes to fine motor skills. Students strengthen their fingers and hands through activities and learn proper formation of manuscript and cursive letters for handwriting.
For students who continue to need individual therapy, Speech/Language and Occupational Therapy services are offered during the school day on a contractual basis. These important areas support our belief in working as a team and in looking at the whole child. While we also work with therapists whom a child may see outside of Oakwood, we have found the integration of these services in the child’s educational program and the ease of collaboration between therapists and teachers to greatly benefit the child. Reinforcement of therapy objectives in the classroom and academic goals in the therapy setting help in the student’s progress toward meeting individual goals. Students may meet with a therapist individually or with another student to reinforce social skills.