Occupational Therapy

Scope of Occupational Therapy in SDMA

Occupational Therapy as provided in The School District of the Menomonie Area is a Department of Public Instruction, related educational service, provided to those students-when less restrictive forms of instruction are not appropriate. These students may require specialized assistance with fine-motor, self-care, sensory-motor, and social/emotional development performance to allow them to more fully benefit from their Special Education program. These services contribute to the development, improvement, or maintenance of the student's functional school-related skills when normal, or less restrictive, educational instruction does not in itself, provide the necessary remediation.

In the schools, the focus of Occupational Therapy is on the student's ability to function in the educational environment. As long as the student's educational needs are being appropriately met, the school-based OT is operating within his/her scope of practice and training. Each occupational therapist, using professional judgment, evaluation data, and expected outcomes, selects a particular frame of reference which will guide the intervention. You are encouraged to discuss your concerns with the school therapist to help you understand the reasoning used to guide the intervention.


School-Based vs. Medical Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapy services in the public school system are mandated by Federal Law. These services are available for qualifying students ages 3 to 21. To qualify for services, a student must show an educational related difficulty which impairs his/her ability to function in the school environment. 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...), ball skills, and organization. The goal of intervention is to assist a student to function well within the school setting. Services may include remediation of an area of difficulty, helping a child learn a compensation strategy, or making an adaptation to the school environment to more effectively allow a child to participate.

Clinical-based occupational therapy focuses on medical issues. Services provided by a clinic address functional difficulties in a variety of environments such as home and the community. The goal of intervention is to assist a student to function well in all environments. There are cases when a child is not eligible for Occupational Therapy services in the school system but may have needs in other environments. Therefore, non-educational needs are appropriately treated in a hospital or clinic setting.