What is OT?
Occupational Therapy (OT) is a related service that can be provided within a school district to assist students that are experiencing difficulty achieving independence and meeting their full academic potential due to motor, cognitive, perceptual or medical reasons .If a student is referred by the Child Study Team for an OT assessment, grade level school related skills as well as the students level of functional independence within the educational environment is evaluated. Fine motor skills, hand writing, motor planning, use of classroom tools/ materials and self help skills encountered throughout the school day are analyzed. Testing is scored, information is gathered from the teachers and clinical observation findings are compiled to determine the student’s ability to access their grade level curriculum.
Activities are selected and adapted to meet each student at their current level and then provide them with the “just right challenge” to increase their participation and improve their responses. OT is fun for the students; they are working their arms, hands, fingers and eyes and just think they are playing with cool toys, games and activities. :)
It is function not perfection that is the cornerstone of an occupational therapy program. The frequency and duration of OT service is individualized to each student and annual goals for their IEP are set and reviewed by the family and team. OT Intervention will employ strategies to remediate the underlying deficits, compensate for decreased skills and/or adapt materials or the environment to optimize a student’s function in school.
“School- based therapy is not intended to meet all the therapy needs of a student but is intended to meet needs of the student to promote success in the educational environment.” (Recommended Practices for Occupational and Physical Therapy Services in Schools—M. Orentlicher).