Areas of need addressed through OT services include:
- Gross Motor
- Fine Motor
- Life Skills Instruction
- Transition Skills support
Students are supported in these areas through pull out services to work on developing, remediating or compensating gross motor, fine motor and life skills and generalizing to the classroom and school setting in a functional manner.
Excelsior Academy utilizes the “Zones of Regulation” approach to assist students in understanding the power of self-regulation. This program teaches and encourages students to take control and ownership of their own emotions and behavior using a clear, easy-to-follow, color-coded framework. The program uses the color codes to describe different emotions and energy levels “states’ to describe what they may be feeling in a non-threatening manner in a language understood by staff and peers. The “Zones offer a way to learn and regulate the nervous system with the goal of returning to a level of “ready to learn”.
The Occupational Therapy department works closely with teachers as well as counselors and speech therapists in a collaborative, wrap around model that provides consistency of care and services for our students. This approach recognizes the whole child and their varying needs.
Excelsior Academy has recently developed a Transition Program to assist students in acquiring/developing skills for life beyond high school. This program is supported by all Designated Instructional Services in all activities such as cooking, mobility, organization, self-care, money management and pre-vocational training. Occupational Therapy Practitioners are involved in supporting these activities in the classroom and community as well as one on one services when needed by the student.
Meet our Occupational Therapists:
Ms. Lauren Elitzak is thrilled to join the EA family; she has been involved with our students since 2014. She is a licensed Occupational Therapist (OTR/L) that holds a Masters of Occupational Therapy, and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy. She has worked both as an OT and PT for the school district, and with outgoing pediatric patients. She heads Eagle Strong, our morning fitness program, to help students get ready to learn and comfortable in their bodies. Along with a strong passion for OT, she loves chocolate, staying active in the outdoors of San Diego, and reading.
Mr. Travis Nickerson has been a part of our community since 2013, when he worked as an OT intern through Grossmont College. Since then, he has graduated with an Associates of Science in Occupational Therapy Assistance, and become a Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant (COTA), and worked at Balboa Hospital working with outpatient orthopedics. He actively helps the students and staff on campus in the student-run store, and in the Transition program. An avid hiker, he loves anything outdoors.