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Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy practitioners are occupational therapists (OTs) and occupational therapy assistants (OTAs) who use meaningful activities (occupations) to help children and youth participate in what they need and/or want to do in order to promote physical and mental health and well-being.

Occupational therapy addresses physical, cognitive, social/emotional, sensory, and other aspects of performance. In schools, occupational therapy practitioners focus on academics, play and leisure, social participation, self-care skills (ADLs, or Activities of Daily Living), and transition/work skills.

Occupational therapy’s expertise includes activity and environmental analysis and modification with a goal of reducing the barriers to participation. 


Occupational Therapists Specifically Address the Following Areas Within Team Approach 

  • Adapting activities and environments so students can participate (for example, modifying playground equipment, recommending bus or classroom seating, recommending lunch groups in cafeteria for social participation, offering strategies to increase participation in curricular or extracurricular activities such as gym and chorus, providing adaptive equipment for functional tasks such as functional hand splints and modified tools)
  • Collaborating with school personnel including families for school initiatives such as recess promotion and response to intervention
  • Offering instructional strategies to support all students learning such as Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • Increasing independence in daily living skills (for example, addressing self care such as toileting and organizational skills needed for homework completion)
  • Supporting transition toward employment, community integration, and further education (for example, increas¬ing student ability to perform the activities associated with an afterschool job or internship)
  • Recommending assistive technology to increase learning access and participation (i.e. recommending computer software, pencil grips, modified seating)
  • Promoting positive behavior and interaction that impacts learning (i.e. sharing, turn-taking, social skills training)
  • Supporting school mental health (offering anti-bullying initiatives and promoting coping and calming skills for social participation)
  • Increasing attention by recommending motor breaks and alerting activities
  • Addressing sensory, cognitive, motor needs that impact access or participation in the curriculum (for example, increasing coordination so the student can manipulate his backpack or assessing tolerance for fire drill noise for those with sound sensitivity) (AOTA 2013)

The Occupational Therapy department at Piscataway Regional Day School consists of four Occupational Therapists and one Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant with an average of fifteen years of pediatric experience with developmentally disabled students. Therapists provide direct services to students, in services to staff, and training/ suggestions for families and care givers.