Tuesday, May 7, 2013

How Many Steps?

Recently, Ruth Morgan of Chapel Hill Snippets sent me the following image with the statement:
"I used to think it would be hard to be an Occupational Therapy... And then I saw this step-by-step".

This made me laugh. Ed Emberly would be appalled! It's a very funny image, especially when I think about it in the context of Occupational Therapy. Obviously, so many steps are necessary in between #1 and #2, and for many folks, that is where the mystery lies.  My sister, Emily Keenum who is a contributor to the blog Acorn Dreams, noted that she often feels this way in life when faced with how to be a good parent, wife, employee, etc. It seems obvious that she is of course, excellent at all of those things!

Yesterday, I attended a Conference called "Strategy Sleuths: Detecting Communication/AT Needs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders", with Shelly Weingarten and Jill Gierach from WATI (Wisconsin Assistive Technology Initiative).  Our AT Team has utilized a lot of their tools as they make them available online and encourage teams using them. 

One topic they touched on, which resonated with my colleague and I, was the issue of follow through/delivery. We want to make certain that when we deliver technology, staff/students/parents don't view the AT intervention as analogous to the cartoon above. Our team, like many, work from a consultative approach. We rely on the teachers, and related service people to provide the direct service.  The take home message for me is that what may be obvious to me or my colleague, may not be so to the users. It is better to err on the side of too many steps in my step-by-step directions! 

I used to have a couple of co-workers who were proudly Teflon-like to learning technology.  They agreed to be my "subjects" when I made step-by-step directions. We knew that if they could understand the directions, anyone would. My problem now, is that they are no longer so Teflon-like!

When sending technology out to a user, it is crucial that sufficient training is put in place.  in addition, be certain the team identifies who will do what in the process, and how success/progress will be measured. This insures buy-in from all participants.

Happy Therapy!

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