scissorsKathi Wieringa, OT Kathi.Wieringa@cusd200.org  

    scissorsKaren Busse,OT- karen.busse@cusd200.org
    scissorsKim Grimes,OT- kimberly.grimes@cusd200.org
    scissorsJennifer Preston,OT- jennifer.preston@cusd200.org
    scissorsAmy Mulick,OT- amy.mulick@cusd200.org
    scissors Rita Hoffer, OT- rita.hoffer@cusd200.org
     scissors  Colleen O'Brien, OT- colleen.obrien@cusd200.org 

    What is Occupational Therapy?

    Occupational therapy is skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives.
    Occupational therapy assists people in developing the "skills for the job of living" necessary for independent and
    satisfying lives. (AOTA, 2009)

    School-Based Occupational Therapy

    Occupational therapy is concerned with a child’s ability to participate in daily life activities, or “occupations.
    ” Occupational therapists are part of the preschool team. Occupational therapists support the achievement of
    developmental and learning outcomes for children with and without disabilities (AOTA, 2009).

    How Occupational Therapy Supports Students’ Learning

    In the school setting, children participate in the occupations of play and school related tasks (e.g. writing,
    coloring, cutting, and physical movement). A child may have difficulties and/or disabilities that interfere with
    the child being successful in school. Sometimes these difficulties are related to a delay in development,
    learning disabilities, physical disabilities, or sensory dysfunction. The school occupational therapist works with
    students receiving special education who have impaired abilities to perform tasks required in the school setting.
    It is possible that a student may need occupational therapy in the clinic setting or early intervention
    but may not be eligible in the educational setting.

    Occupational Therapy (OT) FAQs

    • A doctor’s prescription is required by Illinois State Law to initiate occupational therapy.
    • In the school setting, OT is a related service. Under federal regulation, it is a service that the IEP team determines is required in order for a child with a disability to benefit from his or her program of specially designed instruction.
    • OT services in the school setting differ from those in rehabilitation, early intervention, and other medical settings both in scope and in intent.  Schools are not mandated to provide any and all pediatric OT to enrolled students. The proposed therapy program goals MUST be educationally-relevant and address how the student’s disability affects classroom performance rather than the disability itself. Click here for a comparison of Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education including Occupational Therapy services. To qualify for OT services, it must be shown that the unique skills and expertise of the OT are needed to assist the child to benefit from education.
    • Some areas of dysfunction may include but are not limited to: keyboarding skills, handwriting, cutting, use of classroom manipulatives such as a ruler, self help skills (shoe tying, zipping, etc...)
    • Occupational therapy practitioners may provide direct service (one-on-one or in groups,) consultation, and monitoring based on the student’s goal plan. Therapists may help make modifications to a student’s environment, activities, or assignments in order to increase participation. Intervention occurs in the student’s least restrictive environment, which usually means integrating therapy into the student’s classroom schedule or daily routine.
    • How is OT different from PT in the school setting? In general, the focus of PT is the facilitation of gross motor development and basic mobility. The focus of OT is the development of fine and visual-motor motor skills, self care skills and functional skills.


    Pocket Full of Therapy


    American Occupational Therapy Association


    Handwriting Without Tears




    Therapy Shoppe Inc.,


    Handy Learning Program

    Handwriting Worksheets