One of the reasons why I love working for a school system is that my work calendar goes with the ebb and flow of the seasons, and to that end, we actually get to have an end of one year and the start of another. It is a great feeling to finish something off, and while sometimes we dread going back to work in the Fall, it is nice to start out fresh, having had a chance to hit reset for a few months.
Reflection has always been an important part of my practice, although I don't always do it purposely. When my children were little the reflections blew through one side of my head to the other, as I was reaching for a sippy cup or trying to figure out when my kid had to get to baseball practice. Every year, though, I feel like has a theme...there are those years of...contentious IEPs, a string of kids with the same kind of problem...the year of DME problems (lost prescriptions, equipment not received, wrong stuff ordered)...the year of evals. This year, I am actually publicly sharing my lessons.
My themes this year:
1. KISS and Outcomes Measures: we need simple ones, more often, and encourage our colleagues across disciplines to do the same. I have had tremendous success working with my PE colleagues to use the 2 Minute Walk Test as an outcomes measure. Read some thoughts on that here. The best part, really, is that the kids are making more progress, and because the tool has great utility it is easy to measure. We need to have more outcomes measures like this one.
2. Fit4Work=Fitness4Function=Fitness4Life??? As I continue to share my thoughts on Fit4Work and be heavily engaged within my schools, I have come to the notion that the components of fitness
(Cardiovascular Endurance, Muscular Strength, Muscular endurance, Flexibility, Body Composition)
which are foundational for participation in work, are actually foundational for life. And while I have focused on application of these concepts for teens and young adults with disabilities, you will start to see more conversation around working on fitness across the lifespan...not only for participation in work opportunities, but for participation in life.
2. Knowledge uptake can be slow: As someone who has been heavily involved in Knowledge Brokering and Knowledge Translation for a while, this article really blew me away...I read about it as a participant in the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy KBNet course. The notion that interventions, even interventions that we considered to be tried and true, have taken a very long way to make it into practice. While I will always strive to incorporate evidence into my practice, it helps me to have patience in myself and in others...
I encourage you to take a moment and reflect on your year...the highs, the lows...what to do more of and what to do less of...I find that this sort of reflection helps me to be a better therapist but also a better person...work is life and life is work some days, and one always informs the other.
Have a great summer school PTs! See you in a few months!!!