School-based occupational therapy (OT) is a related services included in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Children 3 to 22 years of age who meet criteria for special education services may be eligible for OT services. Service needs are determined upon completion of a school occupational therapy or physical therapy assessment and IEP team recommendation. School-based occupational therapists share in the decision-making process with the IEP team to determine how to meet the educational needs of individual students.
In the Los Angeles Unified School District, occupational therapy primarily focuses on purposeful, goal directed activities that improve a student's functional performance during his/her school day. School-based occupational therapists:
Assess students within their educational setting, using use a comprehensive approach to evaluate and assess a child’s needs in his/her educational environment as well as The Educational Framework for Child Success to determine their needs
Collaborate with team members, including students, parents, teachers, adapted physical education teachers, psychologists, speech therapists, orientation and mobility specialists, etc.
School-based occupational therapy may include individual or small group treatment, consultation, monitoring or environmental adaptations
Provide treatment, program consultation, and environmental modifications for students with disabilities to improve performance within the educational environment
What is School-Based Occupational Therapy?
School-based occupational therapy is a support service to the student's educational program. School-based occupational therapists assess the following areas in the context of the educational environment:
Fine motor skills
Social and play abilities
Visual motor and perception
Task completion and organization
School-based occupational therapists use therapeutic activities that may improve a student's ability to function within the school environment in the areas of self-help, work and play. Occupational therapy intervention may include adaptation of tasks or the environment in order to enhance student performance.
What is School-Based Physical Therapy?
School-based physical therapy, which requires a medical diagnosis in order to provide treatment, is a support service to the student's educational program. School-based physical therapists use therapeutic activities that may improve a student's ability to physically access his educational environment. School-based physical therapists assess the following areas:
Strength and stability
Motor control and coordination
Functional mobility and accessibility within the educational environment
Gross motor skills
The Educational Framework for Child Success (EFCS)
The Educational Framework for Child Success (EFCS) is an expansion of the Ecological Model of Student Performance (EMSP). The EMSP emphasizes the importance of the child’s abilities within his or her curriculum in the context of the school environment, but the EFCS also highlights the importance of curriculum; evidenced based practice; team collaboration; and ongoing as well as future postsecondary child outcomes.
About Our Therapists
The Los Angeles Unified School District Occupational Therapy Program consists of a growing staff of over 200 qualified pediatric occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. The occupational therapists and the certified occupational therapy assistants are nationally certified and state licensed and the physical therapists are state licensed. Many of the therapists on staff also hold a Master's or Doctoral degree. The staff members come from diverse backgrounds and have experience in a variety of settings. Some therapists are actively involved in research, teach university level courses, and have published literature related to the fields of occupational therapy and physical therapy. Additionally, District therapists participate in ongoing continuing education training in a variety of clinical areas.