The school district offers Occupational Therapy as an educationally based related service. An evaluation determines eligibility. This service provides students with the opportunity to maximize their potential within their educational program. Occupational Therapists use purposeful activities to facilitate a child's participation in self-maintenance, academic and vocational pursuits, as well as recreation that occurs in a school environment. Using direct and indirect services, as well as assistive technology and environmental modifications, school Occupational Therapists collaborate with parents, teachers, and other educational staff to help implement a child's special education program. In the schools, the focus of OT is on the child’s ability to function in the educational environment.
As long as the child’s educational needs are being appropriately met, the school-based OT is operating within his/her scope of practice and training.
Each Occupational Therapist, using professional judgment, evaluation data, and expected outcomes, selects a particular frame of reference, which will guide the intervention. Parents/guardians as well as instructional staff are encouraged to discuss concerns with the school therapist to help understand the reasoning used to guide the intervention.
- Federal and state law governs the provision of school-based therapy. Therapy is a related service, and is provided only if the child needs therapy to function in the educational setting.
- In the school, the IEP Team determines the need for therapy. Parents are a part of this team. The team determines the amount, frequency, and duration of therapy.
- Therapy may be provided individually or in small groups by a therapist or therapist assistant. Intervention may or may not be provided directly with the child. Collaborating with educational staff to modify the child’s environment and daily school activities is always a part of school therapy.
- Therapy takes place where the child receives education. Appropriate intervention may be provided in classrooms, hallways, gyms, playgrounds, lunchrooms, bathrooms, separate therapy rooms, or during instruction within the community; i.e., bowling or field trips.
- The decision to discontinue therapy is made by the IEP Team. This may occur when the student no longer is eligible for special education, when other members of the IEP Team can provide necessary interventions, or when the child can perform school tasks without therapeutic intervention.
Occupational Therapy Links