Christopher Hindson has been an Occupational Therapist with Colonial IU 20 since 2004. He has also served as a facilitator for the northern location of the Extended School Year program for the last ten years. He says that the most rewarding part of being a part of the CIU 20 team is "getting the opportunity to work with a team of people trying to help kids become independent and successful in life." In terms of staying focused when things don't go as planned, he credits his ability to go with the flow and pivot to help students succeed, specifically "being flexible...jump from one task to something completely different is the way that I can get things done in challenging environments."
Mr. Hindson tries to connect with students by remaining positive, "I try to keep an upbeat attitude and try to get the kids to feed off those vibes. Having a friendly demeanor really helps the kids want to engage and work on tasks that would otherwise be difficult. In the tough times, I think its important to bring the calm to the crazy."
New Sensory Paths at Pocono Mountain School District
Christopher Hindson's advice to new staff members is to "think outside the box and not to be afraid to talk to building administrators and supervisors about ideas and ways to help our students." He is modeling that advice with his recent collaboration with Kristen Miele-Beatty, National Art Honor Society Advisor at Pocono Mountain West High School, on a new Sensory Path project at Tobyhanna Elementary Center. Through this project, high school art students will design and install Occupational Therapy (OT) Sensory Paths for use in shared hallway spaces. This will help make OT exercises more accessible to all students.
Mr. Hindson's motivation for this project came from his recognition that schools don't always have the resources or capacity to create a dedicated space for a "sensory room" - a therapeutic space with a variety of equipment that provides students an opportunity to calm and focus themselves so they can be better prepared for learning and interacting with others. Chris and his Occupational Therapy fieldwork students created a sensory path model at Clear Run Elementary Center that was received very well by the staff and students. "We have plans for next school year to add more to the hallway and possibly branch out to even more locations," says Chris.