Occupational Therapy (OT) in the schools is considered a related service and is provided to help students benefit from their educational program. To be eligible for OT, students must be identified as either having a disability under the criteria of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Consideration for receipt of OT is a team decision and is based on whether OT services would be both educationally relevant and necessary for the student to demonstrate optimum participation and success within the educational environment.

Physical Therapy information coming soon.

Occupational Therapists provide assessment and treatment of performance difficulties in the environment where these tasks are being carried out. For children, school is a primary environment in which to master personal care, playing, learning and pre-vocational skills. In the context of a multi-disciplinary team, the occupational therapist offers the following:

  • participate in the referral process
  • conduct evaluations and re-evaluations
  • help determine eligibility for receipt of services
  • help create student plans
  • provide direct intervention or supervise staff to carry out plans of care
  • provide regular communication around student progress

Indirect OT Services are provided to various members of the school team on behalf of the student and may include the following:

  • adapting materials for school use or ordering specialized equipment
  • suggesting modifications or accommodations to school tools, the environment or activities
  • consulting with school staff, other related service providers or community professionals around specific student needs
  • explaining how a student's medical or sensorimotor challenges can affect school performance
  • writing home programs
  • provision of pre-screening information and activity ideas to school personnel

Direct OT Services are provided directly to students and may include the following:

  • developing and carrying out therapeutic activity programs that help students be successful in such activities as writing, scissor use, handling small objects, opening lunch containers, etc.
  • exploring modified materials, such as adapted styles of paper, different sizes or styles of pencil and scissors, etc.
  • finding and refining the most supportive working positions and seating adaptations, such as Back Jack floor chairs, inflated "wiggle" cushions, etc.
  • exploring and modifying tools and methods that allow students to be independent in their self care, such as adapted bowls/spoons, activity analysis for specific steps involved in dressing, etc.
  • training and monitoring school staff in feeding, handling, teaching specific skills, use of specialized equipment, etc.
  • ongoing re-assessment of student progress and needs