District Occupational Therapist - firstname.lastname@example.org
Center Grove Elementary School/Randolph Middle School
Phone Number: 973-361-0808 ext 1145
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is a "..supportive service required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education..." Students who receive occupational therapy services in the school setting have been determined to need occupational therapy in order to benefit educationally.
Occupational therapy combines the art and science of providing and directing activities that serve to restore and enhance performance of skills needed for functional daily living. The occupational therapist uses a variety of tasks and exercises in the areas of self-care, work and play to increase functional independence, enhance development, and prevent disability. The task or the environment may be adapted to promote maximum independence and improve quality of life.
What is the purpose of occupational therapy in the school setting?
One of a child’s roles is to be successful both academically and socially in school. Some children require a modified curriculum and/or additional assistance to achieve mastery in these areas. Through the use of adaptation, teaching, therapeutic exercise and play, an occupational therapist may support a child in reaching their curriculum goals.
The goal of educational therapy is to assist the student in attaining educational goals. For example, in clinical therapy a child’s goals may include increasing range of motion and decreasing muscle tone to improve quality of movement. In the educational environment this child’s disability might not interfere with his/her ability to perform in the classroom and, therefore, he/she would not be eligible for services in the school setting. Occupational therapy may be recommended for an individual student for reasons that might be affecting his or learning or behavior, such as motor skills, cognitive processing, visual or perceptual problems, mental health concerns, difficulties staying on task, disorganization, or inappropriate sensory responses.
What areas do occupational therapists address with their students in the school setting?
- Fine motor skills: hand development, hand strength, grasp patterns, pencil grasp, handwriting, dexterity, scissors skills, shoulder/trunk strength and stability.
- Self-help skills: manage clothing in the school setting (i.e., buttons, zippers, snaps, tie shoes), feeding skills, and use of adaptive equipment.
- Sensory awareness and processing: recommend sensory strategies to optimize student’s learning potential.
- Visual perceptual/visual motor skills
(Information taken from American Occupational Therapy Association-www.aota.org)