Why is there no basic Occupational Therapy training for educators, despite its importance in child development?
With Occupational Therapy being relevant in the skill development of all children, why is there no basic training provided to educators?
In today's education system, the role of preschool teachers, SNAs and Teachers extends far beyond the simplicity of just sharing knowledge. Educators often find themselves navigating complex challenges related to students' well-being, development, and overall success. One area that has proven to be crucial in supporting children's growth is Occupational Therapy (OT) strategies. However, our research has shown that there is no training provided to educators and many feel that basic OT training would be an incredibly valuable part of the training curriculum.
Understanding the Value of Occupational Therapy Strategies in Education
There is a very common misconception that Occupational Therapists only fit wheelchairs for children, or adapt seating, but Occupational Therapy encompasses a wide range of techniques aimed at helping individuals, particularly children, develop the skills necessary for everyday activities. These strategies focus on enhancing cognitive, physical, sensory, and social-emotional abilities, enabling students to thrive academically and personally.
In an educational context, OT strategies can address various challenges that students may face, such as sensory processing difficulties, attention deficits, fine motor skill delays, social interaction obstacles, and emotional regulation issues. By incorporating these strategies into the learning environment, educators can create inclusive classrooms where all students can fully engage and succeed.
We have trained thousands of educatorsover the years and have seen how the most basic of strategies have transformed the classroom environment.
The Benefits of Including Occupational Therapy Training for SNAs, Preschool Teachers and Teachers.
Despite the clear advantages of utilising Occupational Therapy strategies in education, the current educational system falls short in providing educators with the necessary training. Educators are working with children on a daily basis, and they are the ones who can have the biggest impact on a child's development, but without the necessary training for educators, it restricts their ability to effectively identify, understand, and address the diverse needs of their students.
Integrating Occupational Therapy training into the training curriculum for all educators offers many benefits. Firstly, it equips them with the knowledge and skills to recognise early signs of developmental challenges or learning difficulties in children and this can then be further assessed if necessary. This early identification can lead to timely interventions and prevent potential long-term academic and personal setbacks.
Secondly, Occupational Therapy training empowers educators to implement targeted strategies that support students with specific needs. Educators who are knowledgeable about OT techniques can modify learning environments, and make learning more efficient and less frustrating for a student.
Occupational Therapy training also provides educators with the tools to foster inclusive classrooms. Educators can better understand and cater to students' diverse learning styles, engage children with sensory-based activities, and promote positive social interactions among peers.
Training Curriculums for Educators should include a module on Occupational Therapy
Educational institutions should consider integrating Occupational Therapy training modules into existing teacher education programmes. These modules can cover foundational knowledge of OT strategies, practical implementation techniques, and case studies illustrating the positive impact of incorporating OT in classrooms.
In conclusion, Occupational Therapy strategies have proven to be indispensable for educators working with children. However, the absence of Occupational Therapy training for educators hinders their ability to effectively support students' diverse needs. By recognising the value of Occupational Therapy in education and advocating for comprehensive training, we can create inclusive learning environments that empower all children to reach their full potential.
CPD opportunities for school staff
We have seen the benefit of Occupational Therapy training for schools and it is why we created our Yearly CPD Plans. To learn more about them or to enroll, you can visit our website https://myotandme.com/