The occupational therapists use activities as a means to help students practice perceptual motor skills to improve their ability to use classroom tools, such as pencils, scissors, hole punchers, or binders. They learn organizational skills in order to follow the sequence of a project or assignment to completion and life skills to follow recipes, wash clothes, or tie shoes. The students also practice social skills using social stories, team building activities, video modeling or role-playing in preparation for community based instruction. Self-regulation is also the focus of occupational therapy intervention and students learn to identify their state of alertness and techniques to manage their sensory processing systems for the “just right” state to focus on learning.
The occupational therapists may work with students in the therapy room, outside of class to build and practice skills that underlie their obstacles and build on their strengths. They also work within the classroom during instructional activities in order to promote successful participation in academics and social skills. Occupational therapy can occur in every environment within the school, including the gym, independent living studio, lunch or recess in addition to the students’ regular classrooms.