OT and YOU: Back to School

The Role of Occupational Therapy in a School Environment

An occupational therapist can improve the student's performance of tasks and activities important for successful school functioning, in consideration of the student’s skills and abilities.

An occupational therapy assessment for school-aged children may include the following areas of assessment: physical, developmental, sensory, attention, accessibility, and equipment. Fine motor, gross motor, motor coordination, visual motor, and visual perceptual are common assessments completed in the school system. An OT school assessment may also assess self-care and social integration.

Occupational therapists can advocate for modifications including changed expectations, assist in providing information to parents, teachers and children and offer intervention techniques related to schoolwork, leisure and activities of daily living.

Occupational therapists play a valuable role in educating parents, teachers, and families about important factors affecting school-aged children such as backpacks: what is appropriate and acceptable (size, weight, proper fit). See Backpacks: Beasts of Burden for more additional details.

Fine motor assessment for school-aged children includes handwriting assessments. Occupational therapists can provide recommendations on appropriate writing utensils and adaptive aids to improve handwriting skills.

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