Eleanor Cawley is an occupational therapist with almost 20 years of experience in the pediatric sector, much of that time as an independent contractor. She is very passionate about her work, her writing, and her community. Ms. Eleanor, as she has been known by her students, has 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, she has worked in a variety of settings throughout the life span but settled in the area of school-based therapy. She has a very keen interest in mental health and in using technology to support independence. She teaches students to use programming not only to monitor their own goal progress but also support behavioral, educational, vocational and life skills.
Another area of particular interest is documentation. As an independent contractor for many years, she feels that it is important to align methods of documenting goal progress with educators for greater consistency and understanding when writing for an IEP. Ms. Cawley feels that 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. To that end, she has written and published “Using Rubrics to Monitor Outcomes in Occupational Therapy.”
Combining her interest in technology and documentation, Ms. Cawley now uses Microsoft OneNote and Excel to maintain all documentation and track progress. She creates a digital notebook for each student or patient with any forms required uploaded as templates which can then be completed and saved automatically.
Ms. Cawley strongly believes in student centered therapy. Students need to be active participants in developing goals and documenting progress in order to maintain a student’s engagement. Ms. Eleanor recently updated and published “The Student Interview,” to engage middle and high school students in developing their IEPs. In order to help students understand their progress, she teaches her students to develop electronic portfolios and to use spreadsheet programming with graphs to collect data and view progress, whenever possible.
Outside of her work, she loves animals, walking, photography, reading, and organizing. She defines herself as a mother, a daughter, a sister, an occupational therapist with a keen interest in assistive technology and a vegan. Ms. Cawley belongs to a revitalization group called, “Source the Station,” where local residents and small business owners get to meet with each other crowdsourcing problems in the neighborhood. This is a very exciting, multicultural group focused on rebuilding and revitalizing Huntington Station, NY.