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Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy (OT) is a related service in the school district that is provided to students within the special education program.  Occupational Therapists are trained in the use of therapeutic activities to help individuals who have difficulty engaging and participating in desired life activities or "occupations".  For children in school, these occupations may be drawing, writing, arts and crafts, recess, PE, social skills and playtime.


When a child qualifies for Occupational Therapy in the school, the focus of the program is often to improve one or more of the following areas; fine and/or gross motor skills, learning difficulties that are influenced by poor motor coordination and sensory-motor difficulties that affect the student's ability to focus or get organized to perform school work.  School OTs design a special program of activities designed to meet the individual needs of the student receiving services.  The OT services may include direct and/or indirect services with the student, consultation with the teaching staff who work with the student and training with the staff regarding classroom adaptations that may benefit specific students.



The Occupational Therapy Program is for students who have difficulty engaging and participating in desired life activities or “occupations” such as drawing, writing, cutting with scissors, arts and crafts, recess, PE, playtime, as well as other daily life activities. In early school years fine motor concerns might include difficulties drawing simple lines and shapes, writing his/her name, or using the small muscles of the hand. Gross motor concerns might include difficulties learning basic skills such as hopping, skipping, jumping, balancing on one foot, throwing and catching a ball, and doing simple sequences to complete a task.



If a parent has a concern about a child’s fine or gross motor skills, they may speak to their child’s teacher or the building principal to request the Student Study Team to determine if screening and/or evaluation are recommended. Parents are invited to be included in all discussions of their child.



If a child needs occupational therapy, the special education process will be followed to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to outline the student’s specific needs. Therapy is provided at school within the school day, and is coordinated with other staff and programs. Occupational Therapists may work directly with students or train staff to meet the student’s needs.


Kelly Danielson