District Departments » Pupil Services » Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy

Scott Aidlen, Program Supervisor

732-751-2480 x3815

saidlen@howell.k12.nj.us


 
Program Overview

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.
District Occupational Therapists

To locate the occupational therapist for your child's school please see the school’s Our Staff page.
Occupational Therapy: Frequently Asked Questions
 
My child was recently referred for an OT Evaluation. Exactly what is OT and what will it do for my child?

School-based Occupational Therapy is designed to enhance the student’s ability to fully access and be successful in the learning environment.

This might include working on handwriting or fine motor skills so the child can complete written assignments, helping the child organize himself or herself in the environment (including work space in and around the desk), working with the teacher to modify the classroom and/or adapting learning materials to facilitate successful participation.

How do I get OT for my child?

Occupational Therapy (OT) is a related service under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and is provided to help students with a disability to benefit from special education. As such, OT is a supportive service. If your child has a disability, as defined by IDEA, and needs special education and related services to meet unique learning needs, then he/she might be eligible for OT services. Eligibility for special education does not mean automatic eligibility for related services, including OT. The multidisciplinary team, in concert with the OT evaluation, makes the final determination.

An OT recently evaluated my child, and I have some concerns about the test used. Are there particular tests that should be used?

Occupational therapists are responsible for determining the need for OT services. This is done via the data collection (evaluation) process, of which administering a particular test is only one part.

The therapist may use screening, standardized or non-standardized tests, depending on the need and type of information sought, which in this case should be directly related to your child’s ability to function and be successful in school.

While there is not one particular assessment tool that “should be used,” the therapist should be familiar with a variety of methods to gather the necessary information and to make an informed decision.

Where can I find more information about Occupational Therapy for my child?
  • The principal of your child’s school
  • The special education director or coordinator for your child’s school district
  • The American Occupational Therapy Association