Why More Schools Should Adopt Online Occupational Therapy

Dr. Rondalyn Whitney
Dr. Rondalyn Whitney
Assistant Professor of Occupation Therapy at the University of the Sciences

Online occupational therapy opens up opportunities for K-12 schools to overcome the shortage of occupational therapists while providing quality treatment for students. However, many K-12 schools continue to question the impact of online occupational therapy.

To address these concerns, Dr. Rondalyn Whitney sat down with me for a brief Q&A where we discussed the common misconceptions surrounding online occupational therapy as well as some benefits most are not aware of. Dr. Whiney is currently an Assistant Professor of Occupation Therapy at the University of the Sciences, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

1. What is one major misconception about online occupational therapy that you’d like to address?
That we have to be hands on to create change. We are trained to problem solve and to remove barriers to occupational performance in any and all contexts including virtual.

2. Why is it important for K-12 schools to adopt online occupational therapy?
This is a high quality, cost-effective method of service delivery. There are too few qualified Occupational Therapists for school-based treatment and travel time uses up precious student treatment time. Online occupational therapy can reach more students in less time. In addition, the materials for sessions are readily available in the virtual space and expert clinical mentorship is provided (FYI: most districts cannot afford to assure clinical mentors).

3. What are some benefits of online occupational therapy that many may not be aware of?
Virtual classrooms provide the opportunity to collect data and assess pragmatic outcomes. Also, one reason for high turnover in school-based treatment, according to the research, is travel time between students. A virtual treatment space eliminates barriers and allows schools to provide consistent quality care. I’m excited – I think this is a real solution and allows schools to provide greater access to quality service in spite of geographic and socioeconomic barriers.

Online Occupational Therapy WebinarTo learn more about online occupational therapy and hear insight from special education leaders, sign-up for our next SPED AHEAD webinar on February 5, 2013. Guest presenters include Dr. Rondalyn Whitney and Michael Berthelette, VP of Community Outreach & Education and Occupational Therapy at Allied Health Media.

What are some concerns you have about online occupational therapy? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @PresenceLearn.