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Welcome to Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy (OT) is a related service for students in the public school system who are eligible for an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) program. The purpose of a related service is to provide assistance to students with special needs so that they can participate more independently in their educational program, and develop the basic skills necessary to meet their Individual Education Plan (IEP) goals.


Occupational Therapists provide intervention to eligible students whose difficulties in the areas of fine motor, visual motor, self-care and sensory processing skills interfere with their participation in school activities.

Occupational therapy is an important part of the collaborative team that supports ESE students and works toward developing strategies for success in school.


Website Links

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)

Florida Occupational Therapy Association (FLOTA)

Frequently Asked Questions

If I have a concern, what should I do?

Share your concerns and observations with you child’s teacher or staffing coordinator. This may be done during an informal conference or as part of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting.


What happens after I express my concerns?

A student who is observed to have specific difficulties in the areas of fine motor, visual motor, self-care and sensory processing skills and who has not responded to interventions in their primary ESE programs may be referred for an occupational therapy evaluation. The evaluation will be scheduled once a referral and consent for re-evaluation are completed, signed by the parent/guardian, and forwarded to the OT/PT department. The student’s overall academic/ developmental skills, physical skills and medical considerations are taken into account as part of the evaluation. The need for therapy intervention is based on the student’s level of performance, potential for improvement in the areas assessed, and level of support already provided by the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) program.


How are Occupational Therapy services provided?

Intervention can be provided by direct service or consultation. Direct therapy intervention is a model in which the therapist is primarily responsible for working with the student and implementing strategies to address the areas of need. This information is shared with the teachers on a regular basis. Consultation is a model in which the therapist and teacher work collaboratively to come up with strategies to address student needs and the teacher is primarily responsible for working with the student. The therapist consults with the teacher on a regular basis to determine whether strategies are successful or require modification to meet student needs.


What if my child does not qualify?

Students who may not qualify for occupational therapy as a related service may benefit from additional accommodations and modifications that are recommended based on information from the evaluation. Specific needs for adaptive equipment and/or assistive technology may be referred to the assistive technology team.