Occupational Therapy in the Schools

From The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.

 Occupational Therapists are part of the education team within a school district.  The profession of occupational therapy is concerned with a person’s ability to participate in desired daily life activities or “occupations”.  In the school setting, occupational therapists help children prepare for and perform important learning and school-related activities and to fulfill their role as students.

 Occupational therapy practitioners have specific knowledge and expertise to appropriately address student needs in the areas of:

·      Adapting an activity to promote full student participation

·      Reducing barriers that limit student participation

·      Using assistive technology to support student success

·      Suggesting alternative assessment procedures to meet the needs of students with significant challenges

·      Planning relevant instructional activities for ongoing implementation in the classroom

 School-based occupational therapy is available for students who are eligible for special education, which is determined by the IEP process.  Occupational therapists complete assessments and work with other members of the school-based team to help determine what is needed for a student to receive a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.  They collaborate with the team to identify a student’s annual goals and determine the services, supports, modifications and accommodations that are required for the student to achieve these goals.  When the team determines that occupational therapy is needed for a student to meet his or her annual goals, the service is included in the IEP.  When a student’s disability affects his participation in school but he does not qualify for special education services, the student may be eligible to receive occupational therapy under other federal laws such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.