School is starting back, and that means that many therapists will find their schedules filling up easily in the afternoons. Unfortunately, filling up the mid-morning and early afternoon blocks of your schedule might be more difficult.
If you’re looking for some new strategies to help you fill up your morning schedule during the school year, Kris Dickinson, M.S., OTR/L, of TheraPlay Spot shared a couple of tips with me.
Like most therapists, Kris found that it was hardest to fill hours in the middle of the day during the school year. All of her patients wanted appointments before or after school.
When she sat down to think of a solution to this problem, a light bulb went off— homeschoolers! Kids who are homeschooled have more flexible schedules, and since some kids are homeschooled specifically because they have sensory issues (Kris’s specialty), they seemed like a perfect fit.
Kris set up a booth at a local homeschooling convention and was invited to give a 45 minute talk to educate parents on sensory processing disorders. The result? She scheduled a dozen new patients in two days!
Kris has also been able to fill her schedule with private school students. TheraPlay Spot is located in Kansas, and the public school system there doesn’t allow private therapists. But nothing was stopping her from approaching private schools!
Kris offered to speak at teacher meetings and to give free screenings. She educated teachers on sensory processing disorders, and helped determine whether any students who seemed to have behavior issues were actually dealing with sensory issues that she could help with.
By helping teachers know what to look for (and being willing to treat students at school) Kris was able to open up a whole new referral stream.
The most important lesson you can learn from Kris is to get creative when you’re thinking of ways to fill your schedule. There are a lot of opportunities out there! For more tips from Kris, check out “How to Get More Referrals for Your Pediatric Therapy Clinic.”