• Occupational Therapist working with a student who is in a wheelchair.

    Occupational therapy in a school setting is considered 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 lessen or remediate motor deficits as well as adapt learning materials and the classroom environment.

    The NSSED 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. Students may be referred for an occupational therapy evaluation if motor skills appears to be affecting academic or vocational performance.

    NSSED occupational therapy services are provided across a broad range of educational environments and multiple levels of service. The NSSED occupational therapist may work one-on-one with a student or provide services in a group activity. Additionally, NSSED occupational therapists provide consultative services for teachers, teaching assistants and related classroom management as well as consult on the implementation of programs 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. A general guideline is that therapy contributes to the development, improvement or maintenance of the student's functional level within the educational environment. 

    Occupational therapist helping a student sew a button on a shirt.

     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 behavior regulation that may result in therapeutic activities that require special equipment such as a weighted vest or pencil grip; or special setting such as preferred desk placement or quiet area.

    For information, please contact:
    Carol M.Michels, Ed.D., MS, OTR/L
    Director of District Services
    847-831-5100 ext. 225