What is occupational therapy in schools? Occupational therapy (OT) is a related service that focuses on helping people function to their fullest potential in their environment. It may be needed due to a physical, emotional, or cognitive impairment. The "occupation" of students is to attend school and do their work, interact with others, and play. Occupational therapists in schools work with students to make sure they have the appropriate academic skills that enable them to succeed.
What does therapy involve? Activities we engage in to reach our goals may include: age and skill appropriate games, crafts, worksheets, co-operative groups, use of multiple senses, and manipulating small objects. Strategies to improve classroom performance are used such as activities that focus on following directions, sequencing, and movement. One or more of the following areas may be addressed:
- Fine motor skills- handwriting skills, pencil grip, scissor use, manipulating small objects
- Visual motor skills- scanning, sequencing, and visual recall
- Visual perceptual skills- letter formation, spacing, line orientation, direction of lines, copying skills
- Vestibular & sensory processing information- posture, balance, range of motion, sensory integration, and proprioceptive tasks
- also: psychosocial strategies for living with a disability, prevocational, life skills, activities of daily living, working to help integrate assistive technology.
Where is this done? OTs are part of a collaborative team including parents, the teacher, physical therapist, speech therapist, and other related staff. OT can take many forms in a school: in the classroom in a small group (or less) or individually children may be pulled from classes as a group or individually if appropriate and necessary to address goals.
What is our goal ?Our main goal is to work as a team to help students gain the skills they need to function successfully in school and to retain these skills to help them in all areas of life !