by Christine Myers

 

Occupational Therapist and Associate Professor, Christine Myers discusses the importance of including therapists in transition planning.

My background as an occupational therapist has been primarily focused on providing services for young children and families. Yet, until I joined the National Early Childhood Transition Center 7 years ago, I hadn’t thought much about how I supported families who were participating in the various transitions of early childhood.  As I learned more about transition, I began to recognize the valuable, yet undefined, role of therapy providers in the transition process.  

Although occupational therapists (OTs), physical therapists and speech-language pathologists have distinctive scopes of practice, we share a common background in health and child development that enables us to make a valuable contribution both before, during, and after transition.  Prior to transition, we may be involved in coaching parents and/or other team members in the use of strategies that help children learn skills they will need for success in the next environment.  During transition we may collaborate with the team to provide assistive technology or environmental adaptations that support participation.  After transition we may provide ongoing consultation to families, teachers, and others in order to maximize learning, peer engagement, and continued growth among all developmental domains.

Given the inconsistencies in state and local systems, it is not surprising that the involvement of therapy providers in transitions varies widely.  This point was brought home to me at a recent presentation.  An OT from one state verbalized her frustration at not being invited to transition-related meetings and feeling left out of the transition process altogether, while another was excited to report that she had an ongoing relationship with the staff in receiving programs and participates extensively in the transition process.   The CONNECT Module on Transition educates students and early childhood personnel about key transition practices and addresses the importance of therapy provider involvement in transition.

About the Author: Christine Teeters Myers, PhD, OTR/L is an Associate Professor in the Eastern Kentucky University (EKU), Department of Occupational Therapy.

Related content:

COMMUNITY QUESTIONS

  • When using the module to train students and personnel about transition, how are you or might you include the roles of therapy providers in the transition process?
  • As a professional, how have you been involved in the transition process?

 

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