occupational therapy is designed to enhance the student’s ability to fully
access and be successful in the learning environment. Depending on the student,
it may include improving fine motor skills, sensorimotor processing,
coordination, adapting environments, recommending/adapting equipment,
organizing and using materials appropriately and developing self-care skills
appropriate to the learning environment.
Federal law mandates that occupational therapy in schools be educationally
relevant. With this premise, intervention in the educational setting is
distinctly different from clinically based, medically necessitated treatment.
Although medical conditions and/or disability may be present, unless it impacts
the student’s ability to benefit from the educational program, services may not
be indicated. Therefore, determining the need for occupational therapy intervention
must include observing the student within the educational environment and
assessing his/her ability to meet the demands of the educational program and environment.
To be placed on services an evaluation
must first be completed by an occupational therapist.
Occupational therapy (OT) is a related service under Part B of the Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and is provided to help a student with
a disability to benefit from special education. As such, OT is a supportive
service. According to federal guidelines, a student must be eligible for
special education before being considered for OT services in the schools under