Saturday, November 18, 2017

Therapy Basics: What do you need as a new OT and where do you get it?

The fundamentals of a school OT

November marks one full year of working as a school Occupational Therapist- Woohoo! To celebrate, I've decided to make this blog to share my thoughts, experiences, and all the things I'm learning along the way!

This first post is dedicated to all the new school OT's out there. As a new pediatric therapist, you basically have to start from scratch in terms of what items you can use for your kids in therapy. A lot of schools have designated therapy spaces with lots of supplies and games galore, but a lot of other schools may expect you to bring in your own materials and whatnot. This school year, I pretty much fully-stocked my therapy room with my own supplies. BUT, I spent less than $100 on probably everything I need for the whole school year and here’s some tricks and tips how/where! :)

Target, target, target
 Ugh. My favorite place in the world not only to find work stuff but for all the other cute things I never knew I needed. That dollar spot section in the front is GOLD. But seriously, for $1-3 dollars, there's tons of good finds. I've been able to find puzzles, lacing cards, beading activities, card games, mini erasers, sensory toys, stress balls, putty, and even a gripper! You can also get all the classic holy grail therapy games there like Uno, Spot it, Simon, Bop it, and Jenga! (My personal favorites). But seriously, the more I visit target, and its A LOT, the more I see random toys/games that are just perfect for occupational therapy. I'm convinced that Target is really sensitive to the special needs population and is making strides to mainstream sensory toys and games that all kids can benefit from! Love it! (Fun fact: For Halloween this year I actually dressed up as a target employee LOL.  Hmmm, next career choice if OT doesn't work out?)




Dollar Tree So. You'd be surprised with the things you can find at the dollar store these days. They have ALL the basics for as cheap as it can be. $1 for crayons, pencils, pens, markers, chalk boards, folders, construction paper, lined paper, clothespins. Some of my favorite therapy finds include spring open scissors (legit modified scissors for only a dollar) and jumbo plastic tongs (recently broke though... RIP). They also have great crafting supplies: pom poms, pipe cleaners, beads, popsicle sticks, glue, hole punchers, you name it. Not to mention, I decorated my whole therapy room from cute decor from the dollar store. They also have tons and tons of containers in all sizes-- This is they KEY to staying organized in my tiny OT room.




Amazon Prime Let's face it. If you have Amazon Prime, you're always looking for a excuse to use it-- Amiriiight? They have some great therapy equipment that's harder to find in mainstream stores. And compared to other online therapy equipment vendors, I'm a big fan of Amazon's low prices and fast shipping! Here are some of my favorite prime finds. Theraputty (6 pack for $16), Dressing Boards (6 piece set for $17), Fine Motor Tool Set (4 tools for $8), and my handy dandy Laminator (got mine for as low as $20).









Let me end with this— 
Sometimes, it could feel like you're spending way too much money on toys/games... which can feel especially weird as an adult buying children's toys when you have no children, LOL. But, you're basically investing in your future, your students, and your day to day satisfaction. I'm sure you already have most of the basics you already need hidden somewhere in your home. And I'm not saying you need to spend a crazy amount of money on supplies to be a good OT. But I've found that the more you keep things interesting for the kids, the more they're interested in you and working towards their goals. At the end of the day... Do OT for the kids!

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