What is Occupational Therapy in the Schools?

What is Occupational Therapy in the schools?

Occupational therapy (OT) is a related serviceunder Part B of the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and isprovided to help a student with a disability to benefit from special education.

Specifically, when applied to the school system and the role of the student, occupational therapy offers expertise that encourages the student’s engagement in activities that promote successful participation in school.  The areas addressed include fine motor skills for handwriting, scissor use and manipulating small objects,visual motor skills for scanning, sequencing and visual recall , visual perceptual skills for needed for letter formation, spacing, line orientation,directionality and copying skills, vestibular and sensory processing information for posture and balance when at a desk and in a chair, prevocation, life skills, activities of daily living, and the use of assistive technology. 

The"occupation" of students is to attend school and do their work, interact with others, and play.

This is achieved by the occupational therapists knowledge of the student’s performance skills ie: motor, cognitive/learning, organizational ability and sensory processing.

The IEP team determines the need for an OT observation or evaluation.  The occupational therapy service delivery takes place once the outcome of the assessment is determined and recommendations are in place. This could be in the form of butnot limited too:  accommodations, modifications, consultation, collaboration, and direct service. 

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