Posted in Eleanor Cawley, M.S., OTR/L

The Student Interview

The Student Interview Cover

The Student Interview has been something that I have used when assessing students for occupational therapy for some time now.  I have found that by providing a structured interview, that the student could complete independently, allowed the student to provide information in such a way as not to be embarrassed. Although the student knows that the document will be reviewed later, it is much less stressful to check that box and to know what will be discussed; like a celebrity preparing for a television interview.

The Student Interview explores the following areas:

  • Orientation
  • Activities
  • Activities of Daily Living
  • School Skills
  • Technology
  • Self-Regulation
  • Includes open-ended questions regarding the student’s current programming
  • The student’s wants and needs
  • Student Satisfaction Survey- Yes even your students should give feedback- It can be eye opening.

The Student Interview also includes a rubric to assess the responses to the checklist questions.  While not a developed verbatim, it allows the therapist to get an overview of the student’s perception of his or her own abilities.

As a student begins his or her transition into the real world, it is our obligation to help our students to become participants in the development of their IEP and contribute in any way that they can.

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I am an occupational therapist with 18 years of experience in the pediatric sector, much of that time as an independent contractor. I am very passionate about my work and my writing. My degrees include a Bachelor’s of Science in Health Sciences and a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy from Touro College. Since graduating as a non-traditional student, I have worked in a variety of settings throughout the life span but settled in the area of school-based therapy. My interests lie in the area of using technology to support independence and I often train students to use programming not only to monitor their own goal progress but also support educational, vocational and life skills. Another area of particular interest is documentation. As an independent contractor for many years, I feel that it is important to align methods of documenting goal progress with educators for greater consistency and understanding when writing for an IEP. It is better to plan a format for documentation used in the IEP, such as for assessment and goal progress and that a rubric, in many ways, fulfills the need for consistency in documentation across all domains. Combining my interest in technology and documentation, I use Microsoft OneNote to maintain all documentation. I create a digital notebook for each student or patient with any forms required uploaded as templates which can then be completed, and saved automatically. I strongly believe in student centered approach to therapy. Students must be active participants in developing goals and documenting progress. In order to help students understand their progress, I teach my students to develop electronic portfolios and to use spreadsheet programming with graphs to collect data and view progress, whenever possible.