OT - Overview
Occupational therapy in the school facilitates competencies that will help the child benefit from the total education experience. These services may address needs in: fine motor; perceptual motor; sensory motor; sensory integration; and environmental and equipment adaptations to increase participation in functional daily activities (feeding, dressing, writing, organizational skills, hygiene, vocational skills and homemaking). A child's occupation is play and a student's occupation is to learn.
Successful implementation of school-based occupational therapy (OT) includes several roles which may be performed by the occupational therapist.
Evaluator - Determine the needs of the student and how the needs may be impacting performance around the school setting. Service delivery results from specifically identifying which goals and objectives on the student's IEP require support from OT services.
Facilitator - OT's presence in the classroom may serve as a catalyst between a teacher and student for ideas to improve classroom participation and success.
Problem Solver - By spending time in the whole school environment to find solutions for limitations a student is having and/or accessibility issues that need attention. recommending, ordering or fabricating and following up with adaptive equipment or assistive technology.
Assistive Technology Team Member - Evaluation of the student's needs and abilities; acquisition of an assistive technology device; designing, fitting, repairing, and replacing a device; coordinating use of the device with other disciplines; training or technically assisting the child and others in using the device. Use of assistive technology should correlate with the goals and objectives on the students' IEPs.
Teacher - Ongoing formal and informal in-servicing and training of students, teachers and parents.
IEP Team Member - OT is a related "helper" service which supports the teacher and the student in meeting his IEP goals to become as independent and successful as possible in the school environment.
Therapist - Service delivery is a continuum that allows the practitioner to use a range of service delivery options to meet a student's needs at any given time. Frequency of therapy service should be a fluid, collaborative model that may need to be more flexible to allow for individual student needs.
IDEA 1997 decrees children with special-needs be educated in the least-restrictive environment (LRE) "removal of children with disabilities from the regular education environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aides and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily."
Adaptive equipment are aids toward more independent functioning.
Assistive technology is defined by IDEA 1997 as "any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.
Occupational Therapy Staff: