What does Occupational Therapy do in the School Setting?
- focuses on a child's self-care skills, and sensory, motor, postural, and emotional development
- provides special equipment i.e. slant board, chair cushion, pencil grips, etc.
- practices dressing skills as related to school, such as putting on and taking off
an artsmock, putting on and taking off jackets, hats, and gloves
including zippers, snaps, buttons, and ties. Taking off shoes and
putting on boots to get ready for dismissal.
- provides sensory activities such as slow rolling, deep pressure, weight bearing, propelling on scooter boards, etc.
- teaches strategies for coordination needed in gross motor tasks such as jumping
jacks, jump rope, change of posture( tall kneel, half-kneel)
- strengthens the upper body by doing weight bearing positions such as working on the
floor propped up on elbows which promotes better grip and stability
needed to improve control in the writing hand.
- strengthens fine motor skills to help with pencil grip and using scissors, paper clips, rulers, hole punch, etc.
- works on practicing motor
planning and following a sequence of steps needed for assembly,
following directions in the classroom, art, and physical education.
What does physical therapy do in the school setting?
- focuses on assessing strength, flexibility, posture, overall endurance, balance and gross motor skill development and their effect on the student's ability to function successfully within the school environment
- provides physical therapy intervention when needed through the development of an IEP or 504 plan
- works to improve gait patterns and ambulation skills to allow students to maximize their functional mobility to provide safe access to the school environment
- facilitates participation in activities and everyday routines that require gross motor skills, coordination, strength and endurance
- consults with staff and families on adapting the environment through the use of equipment, positioning techniques, etc. to promote functional independence and success throughout the school day
- serves as a liaison among school, medical personnel, and medical equipment providers
- provides training to student, staff and families on the use of adaptive equipment including orthotics, wheelchairs, walking aids, etc.
Physical and Occupational Therapists are members of a school team that ensures a free and appropriate education for students with disabilities to prepare them for further education, employment and independent living.