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Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy is a profession built on the principle that purposeful goal-directed activity can promote health and well-being in persons with disabilities when utilized appropriately in an assessment and therapeutic environment.

In an educational setting, Occupational Therapy uses developmentally appropriate activities, adaptions and neurodevelopmental strategies to “assist the student with their daily participation in their educational programs.” (Occupational Therapy Services for Children and Youth under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), American Occupational Therapy Association, 1997.)

Occupational Therapy in the school includes, but is not limited to:

  • promoting independence in self help skills;
  • increasing function through the use of adaptive and assistive devices;
  • facilitating development and enhancing learning;
  • improving sensorimotor performance and social-emotional skills;
  • decreasing the effect of the disability upon the student’s ability to function in the classroom; and
  • exploring pre-vocational and vocational skills.

Services are provided in the following ways:

Direct Services: Provision of hands-on occupational therapy services to students with special needs, with the therapist directly performing the recommended activities and exercises to the student.

Teacher/Aide Training: Teachers, aides and other related staff are given training to acquire the necessary basic skills to implement simple therapeutic exercises and activities in school to attain goals as stated in the student’s IEP.

Consultation: Consultation is done with teachers, aides and other related staff regarding student programs and progress.  Instructional strategies and materials are shared as needed.  Human or physical adaptation to the environment is made to make learning as easy as possible.

Provision of Assistive Devices and Equipment: Student needs for assistive devices and/or equipment are assessed on an ongoing basis.  Follow-up for assistive technology includes taking measurements, fabricating or ordering device, fitting and training in use of device.

Parent/Caregiver Training: Parents and/or caregivers are also trained to attain the knowledge and ability to implement a home program of exercises and activities to supplement the school program.

In-Service/Workshop: In-service/workshops are provided to parents, teachers, aides and related staff to address concerns and needs to improve management of programs and service delivery with emphasis on a team approach for success.