What does an Occupational Therapist Do in a School Setting?
An occupational therapist evaluates children's capabilities, recommends and provides therapy, modifies classroom equipment, and helps children participate in school activities. An “O.T.” may screen a child for visual motor, visual perception, gross motor, fine motor, self help and other skills that can affect school performance. A therapist may work with children individually or consult with a teacher. Some therapists provide early intervention therapy to infants and toddlers who have, or are at risk of having, developmental delays. We have students who “qualify” for these services, but we have many more children who do not “qualify” but who could still benefit from modifications or strategies provided in the classroom from the occupational therapists. Below is a list of some of the modifications that might be used to help a student perform to their potential:
· Sit fit cushion on the chair to provide some movement while sitting which may increase the ability to pay attention in ADD / ADHD children
· Weighted vest to help with calming
· Pencil grip to help with holding a pencil
· Weighted pencil to help with clarity in handwriting
· 3-ring binder on a desk to put paper on to create a slanted surface to help with writing
· Adapted paper
· Finger and hand exercises
· Head-set to block out noise with or without a metronome.
When one of these modifications helps a student, the student typically loves the support. When they don’t work-they simply don’t work-and it is no longer used.
If your child’s teacher is interested in trying some of these occupational therapy strategies with your child they will send a note to request your permission and keep you informed on their effectiveness.