School Based Occupational Therapy
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy is a health profession in which therapists help individuals to engage in the specific activities that make up their life. For children in school occupational therapy is a related service which works to ensure that-a student can participate in school activities to his or her fullest. This may include accessing classroom materials and campus settings, paying attention in class, concentrating on the task at hand, holding a pencil, color or writing utensil. The purpose of a school based therapist to support a student's educational success. Practitioners do not focus on the disability the child may present but instead look at the whole child and how they tackle individual tasks. The practitioners find ways to help students do tasks and activities they want and need to do in their educational setting as well as collaborate with teachers and staff on strategies, activities and techniques. School based occupational therapy may be recommended for a child due to concerns that may be affecting a student's learning or behavior, motor skills, cognitive processing, visual motor or perceptual problems, difficulty staying on tasks or a child's sensory response.
The most common referral in school is concerns with the student's handwriting. In the educational setting this is a key component to his or her "occupation" as a student. Other concerns maybe a teacher noticing a child's problem in other motor tasks.
The school based therapist is able to evaluate the child working with the teacher to identify underlying problems that may contribute to his or her writing difficulties. During the evaluation process they observe the child's skills and other problems including visual processing, sensory or physical strengths and weaknesses. Not every child needs school based occupational therapy even if the student has a disability.
Students with disabilities have been able to receive occupational therapy at school since the 1975 passage to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The law stipulated that students with disabilities must have access to occupational therapy if they need it to benefit from special education.
Occupational therapy practitioners in the school also serve as a resource to all staff and have important knowledge and expertise they love to share. "Take Advantage of it"
Graciela M. Lugo, OT, Occupational Therapist
Maria Ortiz, OT, Occupational Therapist
Edith Ramirez, COTA, Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant
Special Education Department: (915) 926-8500
Resources: 2018 American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc.