Occupational therapy in a school setting is a related service that is provided to enhance the student's ability to adapt and to function in the education setting. The therapist uses therapeutic techniques, purposeful activities and strategies to support executive functioning skills, organizational skills, motor and visual motor skills, and functional life skills. The school occupational therapist supports Response to Intervention and Universal Design for Learning programming as well as designing and supporting inclusive classroom environments.
The TrueNorth occupational therapist consults with parents and the educational team regarding students who may demonstrate physical, sensory, neurological or motor disabilities and need assistance to address their educational goals and access their educational environments. Students may be referred for an occupational therapy evaluation if they struggle to successfully participate in academic, vocational, and/or life skills as part of their school programming.
TrueNorth occupational therapy services are provided across a broad range of educational environments and multiple levels of service. The TrueNorth occupational therapist focuses on inclusive service delivery within the general education environments. Occupational therapists may work one-on-one with a student or provide services in a group activity. Additionally, TrueNorth occupational therapists collaborate with school teams to implement inclusive programming to benefit all students in a general education classroom.
The principal role of the school-based therapist is to assist students in benefiting from their educational program. Through collaboration and consultations with the education team, the occupational therapist's work may involve:
- Modifications to the school or classroom environment.
- Consultation resulting in modifications of instructional methodology including alternative strategies and materials.
- Consultation regarding self and/or behavior regulation.
- Collaboration with teams to develop and implement UDL/RtI strategies to support access to and engagement in general education for all students.
Carol M. Michels, Ed.D., MS, OTR/L
Director of District Services
760 Red Oak Lane
Highland Park, IL 60035