WHAT DOES SCHOOL-BASED OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ENTAIL?
Occupational Therapy (OT), under the federal law IDEA, is a related service. Occupational Therapists (OTs) are members of the collaborative educational team. OTs are integral in assisting students in accessing, participating in, increasing independence, and engaging within their educational programming (i.e., academics, functional life skills, transition, social emotional). In addition, OTs assist the collaborative educational team in determining appropriate programs for students and support the total educational system.
School-based OT intervention focuses on the ability of the student to access and participate in the activities or teaching that occurs in the school setting, rather than "treatment" (i.e., medical continuum of needs based on diagnosis and parent/patient concerns) commonly provided in a clinical setting. Direct intervention, whether individually or in a group, is used when the distinct and ongoing expertise of an OT is required to implement strategies to help the student develop skills and/or enable the student to participate in the educational program. During indirect intervention, an OT provides consultation/collaboration with the educational team in regards to student needs and performs other activities necessary to meet the student's needs in the educational setting (staff education, training, program development, advocacy).
Refer to: Recommended Practices for Occupational and Physical Therapy Services in Illinois Schools 2019
Common Educational Services Provided by Occupational Therapy Practitioners in School Based Practice include but not limited to:
- Enhancing independence and participation in educational programming
- Skill development, remediation of skill deficits, and ability to self-regulate
- Activities of daily living (self-care)
- Instrumental activities of daily living (safety awareness, shopping, meal preparation, and clean up, etc.)
- Educational activities (fine motor skills, pre-writing, written communication, technology, participation in academics, etc.)
- Work and volunteer (pre-vocational/vocational exploration and participation, employment interests and pursuits, etc.)
- Play/leisure (exploration and developmentally appropriate participation, identification of interests and pursuits, etc.)
- Social participation (promoting mental health, social behavior, social confidence, etc.)
- Adaptations and modifications of educational environment and activities
Our occupational therapists at ELC support a wide range of populations/programs from early childhood to transition.