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Returning to School: An OT Informed Guide for Parents

With children in several states soon to return to the classroom, Australian occupational therapists are providing families with free, easy-to-access advice on how to cope with the challenges involved.

Prepared by Melbourne based occupational therapist, Kate Woods, Returning to School is a user-friendly graphic shared on Occupational Therapy Australia’s (OTA) website. It suggests and details four key ways of assisting children through the sometimes difficult transition from the virtual to the real classroom. These are:

  • Talk as a family and make a visual plan.
  • Start the day with regulation.
  • Develop a new routine.
  • Be kind to your family, the school and yourself.

Ms Woods notes that the readjustment to school life can be made easier by recognising and drawing on the positives that arose during the period of community lockdown.

“Families should reflect on the pros and cons of the lockdown,” she says. “What went well and, conversely, what is it that you used to do that now doesn’t seem so worthwhile? With these new insights, families can develop new, more informed routines as we head back to normal.”

“Inevitably, some children will cope with the return to school better than others,” Ms Woods said.

“The aim of this guide is to help all children through a time of change, and also to support their parents – who can play a key role in the success of this transition.”

The guide is free to access and can be found here.

OTA is the peak professional body for Australian occupational therapists. As of March 2020, there were more than 23,000 occupational therapists working across the government, non-government, private and community sectors in Australia. Occupational therapists are allied health professionals whose role is to enable their clients to participate in meaningful and productive activities.  

They work with clients of all ages, and provide services such as physical and mental health therapy, vocational rehabilitation, chronic disease management, assessments for assistive technology and home modifications, and key disability supports and services.

Paediatric occupational therapists help children to achieve goals at home, in the classroom and in the wider community.

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