Make a Positive Difference as a School Therapist

When it comes to school, there’s something most kids want more than the latest fashion or phone, and that’s to fit in and feel like they belong. None of us want to feel excluded, or like an outsider. A child with special needs must conquer bigger challenges in order to do things like the rest of the kids so they don’t feel left out. A school therapist can help prevent them from missing out on the educational opportunities, and the fun, of their school days.

Going Back to School

Your school days may be behind you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an A+ for your efforts as a school therapist.

Basic life skills and everyday tasks, which other kids might take for granted, can be a huge hurdle to obtaining the best education for a child with special needs. These struggles could discourage them and impair their confidence. Whether you’re working as a speech language, and occupational or physical school-based therapist – the rewards of helping a child overcome barriers and rise to their potential are priceless. A school therapist’s purpose is to help a child succeed by looking at the whole picture. You’re not just helping a child accomplish one task.

You’re also working to:

  1. Develop new and effective strategies to analyze their strengths and weaknesses
  2. Match their skills and abilities with the environment
  3. Set realistic expectations of their teachers and parents
  4. Suggest and implement task adaptations, modifiers and assistive devices

Helping Them Make the Grade

Optimum performance is important for health, well being and satisfaction with life. By helping these children through the daily struggles they face you’re also setting them up for academic success in the years to come. It can be very fulfilling to see the difference you make in their life as you see them develop comfort and confidence. Your therapeutic interventions can result in:

  • Improved attention in class
  • Enhanced school performance
  • Better organization skills and time-management
  • Enabling others to understand their special needs
  • Implementation of helpful, positive educational adaptations

Be a Superhero

The kids and the school environment can infect you with the energy, optimism and vitality of youth. Their positivity might be contagious when you consider that the whole world is waiting for them and how your role is instrumental in helping them succeed on their journey. Showing them that their needs don’t have to hinder their progress is one of the most important things you could ever do. You might not wear a cape, but in their eyes you might as well be.

In addition to helping them learn vital life skills to participate more independently in their education you’re also:

  • Helping them engage better with the school environment and other students
  • Collaborating with teachers to make education easier and more effective
  • Acting as a coach, liaison, advocate and buffer between teachers and parents
  • Educating other children to see and accept physical and cognitive differences
  • Reducing their frustration
  • Helping them understand how they are unique and different in a good way

A Promising Career

If you’d like to test the career waters of a school therapist, consider positions in travel, per diem, or part-time. You can expand your world, and your skills, while enjoying the perks of the work-life balance that the school schedule provides. You might even help ensure a student doesn’t miss something special going on in school due to the lack of staff they’d have without you.

The diverse caseload of a school therapist can be seen as a challenge, or something to embrace if you’re tired of the same old, same old. It can offer an opportunity to expand your resume and grow your marketable skills by displaying your flexibility, adaptability, problem-solving skills and creative thinking.

Leave an Impression

A school therapist has an important job and might be your ideal career if you’re looking to make a positive difference in a child’s life. Helping a child recognize and celebrate who they are and what makes them different has a way of leaving a lasting impression. Think of that one teacher, or special person, who took the extra time to make a positive difference in your life.

There’s a good chance at least one, or more, of your students might look back and remember the difference you made in theirs.


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Article Sources:

Occupational Therapy: What You Need to Know

How Physical Therapists Help Students with Disabilities

Speech and Language Services in Schools

OT in Schools

What Parents Need to Know About School-Based Occupational Therapy


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