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Involving Families in School-based Therapy

Sandra Barker Dunbar, DPA, OTR/L, FAOTA

March 5, 2014



How can you involve the families in school-based therapy?


We have a school on our campus that treats children with autism. The therapists have begun to interface with families more directly in several ways.  They have begun to provide after school inservices for families to attend which helps them connect and provide continuity of care.  They also use communication notebooks.  Each child has a notebook that is sent home daily that communicates directly with the family regarding the activities and treatment plan for that day.  A teacher, therapist or both can write in this notebook.  The family is then able to also write in their observations or questions and the notebook gets sent back into school. These are two examples where therapists and families have the ability to directly interface with each other to improve the quality of treatment.

Occupation-centered and family centered practice optimizes the outcome of the clients with whom we work.  Occupational therapists have a unique opportunity to maintain our identity and strength through the power of occupation.

sandra barker dunbar

Sandra Barker Dunbar, DPA, OTR/L, FAOTA

Sandee is an occupational therapist and Professor at Nova Southeastern University. Her specialty practice areas include early intervention, program development and family centered care and her research interests are related to Occupational Science. Dr. Dunbar has written two books with contributing authors related to Leadership and OT practice, in addition to several articles. Currently, Sandee is the Assistant Dean of Professional Development and Education at NSU, developing a Leadership Academy which will eventually include classes available to the public.

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