Posted in Eleanor Cawley

Expanding your Practice? Have you tried Pop-Up OT?


First let’s talk about what a Pop-Up actually is.  A pop-up is a shared experience that typically uses empty retail space to provide a short-term brick and mortar experience. Pop-ups have been generally used in retail. The idea of a pop-up [a.k.a. flash retail] is that it is short-term and meant to give the retail experience to new businesses or on-line businesses considering a brick and mortar store. Pop-ups have typically occurred in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.

In my case, I am attempting to expand my practice into a brick and mortar location as an after school program for all students. I am holding a series of ‘Pop-Ups’ targeting skills needed for school, like handwriting, computer skills, vocational skills, etc.  My hope is to educate members of my community on what an occupational therapist does and how occupational therapy can help.

Recently, I participated in a retail holiday pop-up at Source the Station.  While the Pop-Up provided retail space for local emerging small business, I participated by providing free kids crafts. We used many school related cognitive and fine motor skills to complete simple make and take crafts.  I was able to meet and get to know many local families and they were able to get to know me. It was a valuable and unique experience that I could not have had anywhere else.  Image

I thought about how I could build on this idea to increase the size of my local practice and support my idea.  I came up with Pop-Up OT! I was lucky enough to have a friends offer space in their law office for my first Pop-Up. My first one is focusing on handwriting.  I will be educating parents on all there is to know about what it takes to have good handwriting. Pop-Up OT! Handwriting with Ms. Eleanor is my very first endeavor with this method of community awareness.  I will let you know how it goes.

An active Source the Station member who gave her time to help me with all the children attending. Thank you Elissa!


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.