The East Valley SELPA employs occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants who provide services directly to eligible students with disabilities in its member districts. School-based Occupational Therapy practitioners support academic achievement and social participation by promoting occupation within all school routines, including recess, classroom and cafeteria time (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2020). School-based occupational therapy is governed by federal and state laws and is a related service for students with an identified disability who have an individualized education program (IEP) and receive other special education services. It is provided to students who need therapy to function in the educational setting. Therefore, if the IEP team has exhausted the strategies, activities, or resources available and believe that occupational therapy is necessary for the child to benefit from his/her educational program, a referral should be made.
Prior to providing occupational therapy services, an assessment is conducted by a licensed occupational therapist to determine the appropriateness and necessity of services. The primary areas of focus for school-based occupational therapy services includes fine motor, visual motor integration, sensory processing, postural stability, play, and sensory integration. Occupational therapy’s expertise includes activity and environmental analysis and modifications with a goal of reducing the barriers to participation (AOTA, 2017)