October 5, 2023 by HCDE Communications
Harris County Department of Education’s School-Based Therapy Services division recently kicked off a series of virtual professional development and mentoring opportunities for therapists in Harris County and beyond. “Talk About It Tuesdays,” and the newly formed Occupational Therapist Leadership Group allow therapists to share information on best practices and positive classroom outcomes, seek guidance on challenging cases, and stay informed on legal and licensure requirements.
“Talk About It Tuesdays” is a 30-minute, bi-weekly virtual meeting where therapists can discuss topics related to school-based therapy and ask questions as needed, all while not having to leave their school. The new initiative, which resulted from a collaboration between Therapy Services Senior Director Carie Crabb and Manager Amy Collins, was created in response to the division’s physical, occupational, and music therapists’ desire for additional professional development opportunities throughout the school year.
“It’s hard to bring everyone in for training because Harris County is so large, and many therapists don’t have time to leave their students,” said Crabb. “However, the COVID-19 pandemic taught us new skills. Zoom provides an intimate setting where our new therapists can log on and get the camaraderie and support needed to deliver services in a new practice area. Most therapists have never worked in a school setting, and the extensive training, mentoring, and support HCDE provides makes us both unique and successful.”
Crabb describes the “Talk About It Tuesdays” sessions as another opportunity for HCDE therapists to reconnect with members of their onboarding cohort and foster supportive educational and professional relationships.
Therapy Services is also leveraging its ability to conduct virtual professional development to a national audience. Last week, the division welcomed occupational therapy practitioners from Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio, and Texas to its inaugural Occupational Therapist Leadership Group meeting.
Therapy Services Manager Amy Collins facilitated the monthly leadership meeting in which evidence-based research about school-based therapy was shared. Additionally, industry leaders exchanged ideas and promoted best practices in the field.
Dr. Susan Bazyk, a national leader in the field of occupational therapy and the project director of Every Moment Counts, a multi-pronged mental health promotion initiative, was a guest speaker. Bazyk shared philosophies centered around students’ mental health and the ability to improve functionality in everyday life through positive interventions and interactions.
Therapy Services also hosts monthly Physical Therapist and Music Therapist Leadership meetings.
To learn more about HCDE School-Based Therapy Services, visit hcde-texas.org/school-therapy.