About the Occupational Therapy Department

  • Child working with play-dough School-based occupational therapy practitioners support academic achievement and social participation by promoting occupation within all school routines, including recess, classroom, and cafeteria time. They help children fulfill their role as students and prepare them for college, career, and community integration. They utilize prevention, promotion, and intervention strategies for mental and physical health and well-being.

    Benefits to Student Instruction

    • Conducting activity and environmental analysis and making recommendations to improve the fit for greater access, progress, and participation  
    • Reducing barriers that limit student participation within the school environment 
    • Providing and supporting assistive technology to support student success  
    • Supporting the needs of students with significant challenges, such as by helping to determine methods for alternate educational assessment and learning  
    • Helping to plan relevant instructional activities for ongoing implementation in the classroom  
    • Preparing students for successfully transitioning into appropriate post–high school employment, independent living, and/or further education 
    • Collaborate with students to help them to develop self-advocacy and self-determination skills in order to plan for their future and transition to college, career/employment, and community living; improve their performance in learning environments throughout the school (e.g., playgrounds, classrooms, lunchrooms, bathrooms); and optimize their performance through specific adaptations and accommodations Occupational Therapy’s Role with School Settings  
    • Collaborate with parents to support their engagement with school activities such as attendance in individualized education program (IEP) meetings with cultural sensitivity, or to assist in homework management issues  
    • Collaborate with educators and other school support staff, to offer curricular modifications to support diverse learning abilities and to meet state learning standards 
    • Collaborate with paraeducators to support child success and promote safe participation within the school environment (e.g., physical and behavioral assistance needs)  
    • Collaborate with administrators to provide training for students, staff, and parents, such as offering recess promotion strategies or contributing to anti-bullying initiatives, as well as to recommend equipment for schools and ways to modify existing buildings and curriculum to allow access for all  
    • Occupational therapists complete evaluations and assessments, and collaborate with the team to identify a student’s annual goals and determine the services, supports, modifications, and accommodations that are required for the student to achieve them, including addressing transition needs no later than 16 years of age.  
    • Occupational therapy practitioners help to promote healthy school climates that are conducive to learning. They offer other valuable services to meet broader student behavioral and learning needs, along with systemic needs, by addressing students’ mental health and participating in other school-wide initiatives such as positive behavior supports, response to intervention (RtI), and Early Intervening activities.  
    • In addition, occupational therapy practitioners are active participants in developing curriculums and programs; addressing school health and safety; identifying assessment accommodations and modifications; and developing violence prevention, anti-bullying, and other types of programs. In this capacity, occupational therapy practitioners support the needs of all students, including those without disabilities (i.e. use the occupational therapist’s knowledge and expertise to assist in curriculum development for handwriting and social skills, or to recommend modifications to or design of classroom environments or assignments that help all students access and participate in school by implementing universal design for learning). 
    • Supports students in accessing instruction by addressing motor deficits which impede access to instruction 

Key Contacts