Mrs. Galvin

SCHOOL YEAR 2016-2017

WHAT is school based Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy in a school setting is a related service that addresses functional skills in the educational environment such as:

• Motor coordination
• Handwriting
• Self-care
• Sensory processing
• Visual perception
• Attention span
• Pre-vocational skills/interests
• Assistive technology
• Social skills

WHY do children receive OT in school?

In 1990 Congress reauthorized Pub. L. 94-142, and renamed it the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. IDEA entitles all school age children ages 3 through high school with a disability to receive special education and related services (including OT).

WHAT is the difference between school-based OT and medically based OT?

School based OT is provided when a student has been evaluated and determined to need therapy to function in an educational setting. It is provided at no cost to the parent. Medically based OT focuses on a child’s medical needs. It is provided in a clinic, hospital or at home and usually is paid for by insurance companies or Medicaid.

WHAT type of activities may occur during an OT session?

• Strengthening exercises for the hand, wrist, and shoulder muscles
• Core strengthening exercises to optimize attention, posture, and “readiness to learn”
• Instruction and practice of daily living skills such as zipping, buttoning, shoe tying, eating, grooming, manipulating school “tools”, and other self-care skills
• Tasks to improveve visual motor, discrimination, and perceptual skills such as matching, sorting, categorizing, etc.
• Assessment of school environment for possible modification of furnishings, tools, equipment (i.e. slant boards, pencil grips, adapted seating, computer equipment, etc.)
• Instruction and practice to improve handwriting and keyboard skills
• Activities to improve coordination and motor planning, body awareness and sensory processing
• Task analysis and instruction to improve organizational skills
• Social skill development with peers
• Exploration and development of pre-vocational skills
• Consultation and coordination with all staff working with the student

HOW can parents help a student who receives OT?

• Report concerns regarding the student’s function at home
• Communicate with the therapist frequently
• Ask for home activities to support school performance


1. Improves overall fitness
2. Develops motor skills
3. Encourages on task behavior & organization skills
4. Improves self confidence
5. Encourages socialization
6. Reduces obesity
7. Improves mood
8. Improves self-regulation
9. Encourages success by setting & achieving goals
10. Motor based learning is a brain booster for cognitive skills (executive functioning, attention span, memory, and verbal comprehension). It creates active learners who are interested and invested in attaining new skills.

adapted from “Guide to School Based Occupational Therapy” www.

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