If you’re lucky, you have a therapy room or OT gym where you can work with your students. But not all school-based therapists have it so good. Some therapists have to adapt to their environment even if that means they treat students in empty classrooms, the cafeteria, or part of the library. Even if you have a dedicated therapy room, you may be sharing it with speech therapy and PT. You may not have the storage space to keep all your supplies.
Creating Your Therapy Box
By creating a therapy box, you have supplies regardless of when you go. When you’re putting your therapy box together, there are a few things to consider, such as how far you must travel. If you must haul supplies across the campus and up two flights of starts, you may want to limit what you bring.
The age of the students you work with also plays a big role in what you include in your therapy box. If you work with children from pre-school to high-school, it may be more of a challenge to find supplies that work for everyone.
One of the great things about working with students as a school-based occupational therapist is how creative you can be. There are so many things that can be used as a tool to provide therapy. Narrowing down supplies may be tough. The following supplies are a good start:
Pencil case: A classic pencil box is a great tool for students of every age. It can be used to work on handwriting, along with fine motor skills. Include the basics, such as colored pencils, markers, and scissors. Rubber bands, crayons, and pencil grips should also be included.
Bubbles: Young kids often enjoy playing with bubbles. Bubbles can be useful to work on visual tracking, oral motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. When you incorporate jumping and reaching for bubbles, you can also focus on gross motor skills.
Snap beads: Snap beads are versatile and can be used to address visual and academic skills. Beads can be used for counting and sorting skills. For older students, keep a variety of small beads on hand for fine motor activities.
Small manipulatives: Small manipulative, such as tiny plastic animals, pipe cleaners, and balls can be used in counting games, sequencing activities, and to work on sensory skills.
Play-Doh: Play-Doh is very versatile as a therapy tool. Play-Doh can be used to develop coordination and improve hand strength.
iPad: An iPad with apps is great for students of all ages. There is a wide array of apps, which help you focus on visual-motor skills, spatial reasoning, and sensory skills. Many applications are free. Plus, apps make therapy seem like a game, which keeps kids interested.
Small stickers: Small stickers are good for working on fine motor skills with young children. Stickers are fun and can be used as a reward for a job well done.
Have you put together a therapy box for working with students? If so, what are your must-have items?