Occupational therapy (OT) helps students who may struggle to do everyday tasks because of difficulties relating to motor skills, sensory or cognitive challenges. For some students, that includes tasks that are part of learning and functioning well at school. OT works on the skills that students may struggle with, this can include tasks such as zipping their coat to writing and typing.
OT is a treatment that works to improve fine and gross motor skills and motor planning. It can also help individuals who struggle with self-regulation and sensory processing. The therapy is tailored to a child’s specific needs. Before it begins, an occupational therapist (an OT) looks at a child’s strengths and challenges, and the tasks that child has trouble with. The OT will then create a program of activities for the child to work on.
Every classroom has a Resource Station containing learning support equipment and materials such as move and sit cushions, writing slopes, ear defenders, sensory feedback toys, and weighted items.
Students attend morning OT sessions four days a week for a total of eighty minutes. They take part in different groups every day (Sensory, Activities of Daily Living, Gross Motor Skills, Fine Motor Skills, Strengthening and Touch Typing). The general objectives of the exercises planned for the morning OT are:
We always aim at creating activities that are both engaging and stimulating. Some examples of tasks included in the morning sessions are:
Some students access individual and/or small group sessions to work on the development of specific skills and reach established targets. One of the tools we use to set goals and verify the achievement of the targets set is the COPM (Canadian Occupational Performance Measure). Some examples of targets we set and work on, always in agreement with students, teachers and parents, are improving handwriting, learning to tie shoelaces/a tie, learning about money management, learning specific self-care skills.