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TxSpot | School-Based Therapy > Blog > Posts > I LOVE School!
August 01
I LOVE School!

 

by Amy Collins, OTR, MOT
Manager, School-Based Therapy Services, Harris County Dept. of Education

 

I recently observed a therapist working with a young student who refused to participate in class and the teacher who was very frustrated with him. At one point, the teacher asked the therapist, in front of the student, if she could get him to complete a worksheet, since he “ripped it up the last time.”

What might be triggering these behaviors that are impeding his ability to learn? How does he feel about coming to school? How often does he experience feelings of success or self-competence? Does he think his teacher enjoys having him in her class? Does his teacher experience feelings of failure with regard to this student, or take any ownership of the situation?
After the session, the therapist and I talked about positive reinforcement, choice-making, and his unique interests. Our discussion sparked several strategies that could be easily and immediately put in place, including asking the teacher to make a point of telling him how happy she is that he is in her class, asking his parent to send pictures of his dog and cartoon character to create a bridge between home and school, “catching him being good,” giving him as many choices as possible, assigning him a special classroom job he can be successful with, and giving the teacher modeling and praise for her efforts.  
Often, we as therapists and as teachers are so busy we don’t take time to ask “why” or brainstorm what might be done to change the situation. Will you challenge yourself to carve out a little time to ask why one of your students lacks motivation to participate in academic or functional activities and what you might do to facilitate change?