Occupational therapy session at Hawthorne Elementary includes check on students’ mental health

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Jasmine Hearne, an occupational therapy student at Ohio State University, led a session for Hawthorne Elementary students in need of OT that included a mental health component. 

“Even amongst a pandemic, we’re trying our best to have normalcy for the kids through group activities,” said Julie Koontz, an occupational therapist who works for the district and supervised Hearne. “OT can be part of many aspects of a student’s day to include their mental health. We have a good relationship with OSU and can partner with student occupational therapists to have hands-on experience in a school-based setting.” 

Hearne, who was assigned to the district as part of her field placement, created a session that provided therapy for students’ fine motor or visual motor delays. In one exercise, she had students follow directions and use their eyes and hands in coordination to complete a functional cooking task.

As part of the Candyland Feelings game, students answered questions about how they were feeling by moving spaces on the game board to colors which represented a different emotion.

“It was nice to see them responding to the questions and giving answers that are meaningful in learning and understanding strategies for handling big emotions,” Koontz said.