Harbor School’s “ASAH Related Services Provider of the Year” Nominee
We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Mrs. Mary Beth Ward, our Head of Related Services and Occupational Therapist, on being nominated for the ASAH Related Services Provider of the Year Award.
Mary Beth Ward started on her career path dedicated to those with special needs on her graduation with honors from Boston University in 1981 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy. Her first position was as a staff therapist at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. Her clinical experience has also included work at Robert Wood Johnson, Riverview Medical Center, Jersey Shore Medical Center and the Garden State Rehabilitation Hospital. In 1992, Mary Beth was able to apply this strong clinical background as she started working at the Children’s Center of Monmouth County as a staff therapist. Two years later in 1994, Mary Beth took a position as an Occupational therapist at the Harbor School where she has
remained as a dedicated and integral part of the school staff.
Mary Beth continually demonstrates innovation and excellence within our school as she promotes and fosters a truly collaborative therapeutic treatment model in an effort to carryover and strengthen each student’s skills from the therapy room to the classroom and beyond. She has been instrumental in organizing and implementing a weekly staffing model which includes the classroom teacher, therapy staff, behaviorist, nursing staff and specialists and serves as a problem-solving venue to support the unique needs of our students with multiple disabilities. This collaborative model is also reflected in the IEP and parent conference format where all participants, including families and district child study team members are equal partners focused on ensuring that every child is provided with opportunities to succeed in spite of significant challenges. Mary Beth has further promoted this collaborative model through establishing connections with orthopedic physicians, feeding specialists, equipment vendors, and orthotists to assist with easier access for those students and families with needs in these areas.
Mary Beth’s commitment to her work at the Harbor School is felt beyond the doors of our school as we continually respond to the unique needs of our current students and those who are in need of a highly individualized school program.
She has visited hospitals where students who have sustained head injury or have had orthopedic surgery to collaborate and coordinate therapy services to ease their transition back into a school program and assure families of their continued recovery and progress. Her background and strength in rehabilitation has enabled her to work closely with our transition coordinator in assisting all students to better access and develop life skills and pre-vocational in -house training as well as off site job sampling.
Mary Beth Ward is a positive and proactive member of the Harbor School community who is a highly dedicated and visionary professional. She has been instrumental in fostering and promoting a true collaborative model of teamwork focusing on proactive problem-solving to meet the unique needs of our diverse student population. She has worked closely with administration to streamline procedures for IEP/Progress report writing, data collection, Medicaid reporting, staff/parent training, and equipment needs. She continually seeks out information and feedback from school staff, CST case managers, students and families to ensure access and success in all aspects of the day to day program.
A true lifelong learner, Mary Beth remains committed to sharing and acquiring education/information through her membership in the occupational therapy licensing organizations, NJOTA and AOTA, which provide her with cutting edge research/information/discussion as well as ongoing attendance at workshops for topics including: Rhett’s Syndrome and Sensory Integration Across Disciplines and remains committed to her efforts on behalf of the Harbor School community and beyond.
Good Luck to Mrs. Ward!
We will find out if she wins at the ASAH Annual Conference in November.
Click on the link to learn more about ASAH.