GUIDELINES FOR OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY SERVICES
The purpose of this document is to clarify eligibility guidelines for occupational therapy services in the Chappaqua Central School District. Occupational therapy is provided to facilitate a student's ability to adapt to and function in an educational program. An occupational therapy program may be designed to assist in developing underlying skills that support academic learning or to help in the acquisition of specific skills. The presence of a disability does not necessarily indicate a need for occupational therapy. For example, if a child shows limited upper extremity strength or range of motion, occupational therapy is educationally relevant only if that lack of strength or range impacts upon functional skills, e.g., independent transfers, ability to manipulate classroom tools and/or independent toileting.
Occupational therapists address the daily occupations of school life. Occupational therapy may include interventions to improve gross and fine motor skills, to organize and use materials appropriately, to interact with peers, to attend to and focus on instructions or directions, to learn daily living skills and, when necessary, to use assistive technology or compensatory strategies. As a related service, occupational therapy must be educationally relevant and necessary. The American Occupational Therapy Association identifies performance areas that can be addressed by occupational therapists (work, leisure and self-care) and the performance components that contribute to capacity to develop skills in these areas. The following are examples of students who may require occupational therapy services:
Students who may require occupational therapy service include:
1. Child Study Team (CST). A teacher or related staff member may refer to the Child Study Team if the presenting problem has an educational impact. The CST will then determine if an occupational therapy evaluation will be recommended. The occupational therapist will conduct an evaluation and recommend services as necessary.
2. Committee on Special Education (CSE). The CSE is responsible for determining a child's eligibility for special education and related services. The CSE can refer a child for an occupational therapy evaluation. Services recommended by the CSE are mandated by law.
3. Section 504. This law provides for accommodations and/or modifications to meet the needs of disabled students as adequately as those of non-disabled students. Students may be eligible for Section 504 protections when a disability substantially limits a major life activity in school and mandated adaptations are needed to prevent discrimination. Referrals are made through the 504 committee.
Service provision options
2. Service intensity
Services are most often provided 2 times per week for 30-minute sessions. Frequency is determined by such factors as: number of performance components contributing to the dysfunction, severity of the problem, rate of progress, and impact of removal from classroom on academic performance. Students are seen either individually or in small groups depending on the value of peer interaction in achieving specific goals and/or the necessity for individual attention/physical interaction with the therapist.
Service intensity is likely to be greater in early education. At that time, treatment addresses not only specific performance areas but also the neurodevelopmental foundations that contribute to holistic growth. Students in intermediate grades are more likely to receive services of less intensity, and goals address acquisition of specific skills such as vocational or graphomotor skills. Brief and intermittent intervention may also be provided to problem-solve accomplishing a particular task.
3. Mode of delivery
The following are indicators that therapy is no longer indicated: