Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy
What is School-Based Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy, often referred to as “OT” helps children with physical, developmental and cognitive disabilities that affect their school performance. An occupational therapist is a trained health care professional that uses purposeful, goal directed activities and task analysis to enable children with a disability to benefit from their individualized education programs (IEP’s). Federal law mandates that occupational therapy in the school system be educationally relevant. In the school setting, Occupational therapy is a “related service” to special education under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Act. This means that services must enhance or support educational goals as stated on the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).

School-based occupational therapy assessment and intervention focuses on the following areas:
- Activities of Daily Living- Teaching self help skills such as dressing, eating, toileting, etc.
- Play-Learning to manipulate and/or access toys, games, equipment and activities
- Education-Helping to build the necessary skills for handwriting, cutting, drawing
- Socialization- Developing appropriate relationships and engaging in behavior that does not interfere with learning or social relationships
- Sensory Processing-Helping the child understand their visual, auditory, tactile (touch discrimination), vestibular (balance/equilibrium), and proprioceptive(body awareness) senses to interact appropriately within the environment
- Work-Assisting adolescents with the transition to life outside of the school setting by helping develop interests and skill areas
These areas can be addressed through a variety of intervention strategies, which may include direct therapy with the child, consultation with the teacher, modification of the environment, provision of adaptive equipment, and staff training.
“How many OT’s does it take to change a light bulb? None. An OT will teach a light bulb to change itself!”