I want the red shirt.

I go to work every day with a smile on my face. I love my job.

But if I’m being honest, I can share that when I pause and really think about things, It’s easy to feel very down in the dumps about school-based OT.

Are you wondering why? 

Because as a school-based OT, I work the same hours as the teachers, social workers, psychologists, speech therapists, and guidance counselors. I have the same education, responsibilities, and the same role.

But I don’t have the red shirt. And that means I don’t have EQUITY or PARITY.

Every Thursday the staff in my district wear their “Red for Ed” Teachers Union shirts. Every teacher, speech therapist, social worker, teacher’s assistant, school counselor, etc. You get the picture.

But not me.

Miss Jaime OT Facebook, OT advocacy, #SchoolOTsMatter

 

OT is not included in the teacher’s union in my district (and many others), and it causes MANY issues of equity in the school setting.

Last week, one of my kindergarten students said to me, “Miss Jaime, you forgot your red shirt.”
I smiled ruefully at her. “I don’t have a red shirt, Victoria. Those are only for teachers.”
“But you are a teacher, Miss Jaime!”

I answered her sadly. “Thank you, Victoria, I think so, too.”

NY state education department doesn’t categorize OTs and PTs as “educators”. The other “related services” professions – social workers, school counselors, psychologists, and even school attendance teachers fall under the category of “pupil personnel provider.” Pupil personnel is one of the three categories where school professionals can receive teaching certificates.

This impacts PARITY for OTs and PTs in the school setting.  We often do not have the same benefits, salary scale, or professional development opportunities.  We aren’t allowed to advance to leadership positions. Many OTs and PTs don’t even get a lunch hour. 

The exclusion of OTs and PTs from the category of “educators” in the education system is an outdated practice that needs change. 

Are you impacted by this type of systemic discrimination? 

Do you want to learn more about how you can help to change it? 

If so, I invite you to join my Facebook group:

USA School-based OTs & PTs looking for a change

Miss Jaime OT Facebook, OT Advocacy, School-based OT advocacy,

Jaime started the Facebook group “USA school-based OTs looking for change in 2018”. Have you joined yet?

Also, for the month of April, I’m offering a FREE webinar about Advocacy for School-based Occupational Therapists.  (NYSOTA CUEs included!) 

If you have a story about how lack of equity is impacting YOU and YOUR students as a school OT, please email me!  I want to hear your story.  We’re in this together! 

Time-saving School-Based Occupational Therapy Resources…

It’s HERE!  It’s HERE! The Ultimate Therapy bundle is available this week only….. and then it’s gone!

Are You wasting Precious time when you could be taking shortcuts?

-If you’re sick of spending hours searching for new therapy ideas

-If you’re looking for ideas, tips, and strategies in a quick, easy-to-share format

-If you’re feeling motivated and inspired to up your game in your therapy practice this year…

 

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My Favorite Parts of #AOTA19

Last week was a complete whirlwind – whew.   I’m finally getting settled at home,  but I wanted to share my highlights of the American Occupational Therapy Association conference in New Orleans, LA.

  1. Reuniting with old friends from across the country and making new ones!

    Every year, two of my girlfriends from Utica College and I attend the conference together, and it feels like we are right back in college.  This year, I also got to hang out with my friend and fellow OT blogger Colleen Beck (From the OT Toolbox) and two other admins of my USA School Based OTs Looking for Change group (Serena Zeidler and Joan Sauvigne-Kirsch).  We had so much fun and definitely had some major brainstorming over the last few days.  It’s amazing what a bunch of OT brains can come up with!   I also attended the AOTA reception for the Communities of Practice. I’m in the state leadership group, so I had the chance to mingle with all the ladies I work with all year long.

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OT advocacy, #SchoolOTs, MissJaimeOT, #SchoolOtsmatter

Why do Occupational Therapists want Educational Credentialing?

You may have heard the buzz about Occupational Therapists advocating for Educational Credentialing. Especially if you work in the education world.

What is Educational Credentialing? 

State Education laws vary from state to state.  But in every single state in the USA (except for four), OTs and PTs are not under the “umbrella” of teachers. They do not have “educational credentials”.

Why not? 

This started in the past.  Way in the past, because OTs and PTs were considered “medical” (like the nurses).  However, educational laws have changed to a more inclusive educational community. This changed how OTs and PTs are employed.

Now, school therapists support children’s academic success.   Unfortunately,  the state education departments haven’t revised their terminology and laws to include OTs and PTs as “educators”.  YET.

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