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OT Scope of Practice in Schools

OTs promote occupation within all school routines, including recess, classroom, bathroom, meal/snack time in cafeteria by providing skilled services to increase independence within the educational setting. In the school setting, OTs support students in academic achievement, functional performance, and social participation.

IDEA define occupational therapy as:

A) improving, developing or restoring functions impaired or lost through illness, injury or deprivation
B) improving ability to perform tasks for independent functioning when functions are impaired or lost
c) preventing through early intervention, initial or further impairment or loss of function"
(S 300.34(c)(6))

What is the



Medical &


OT Services?

The medically based OT model focuses on improving client's health to increase their participation and independence in ADL/IADL, while the focus of an educational OT model is to facilitate the student’s access to the educational curriculum and support their progress toward IEP goals.

Service Delivery


  • Work directly with students to implement strategies

  • Occur one-on-one or in a group setting

  • Provided when students require continuous services & strategies/modification/techniques used by an OT

  • May take place in variety of settings within the school (e.g., special education resource room, separate therapy room, cafeteria, playground)


  • Interventions taught to teachers for them to implement, however, OT provides regular input

  • Requires planning & consultation with the teacher

  • OT maintains regular contact with the student to monitor their needs/progress

  • Planning for innovative services and new programs around the school

  • Contribute to school wide committees (e.g, PBIS, bully prevention)


State Licensure


to review the OT scope of practice according to the state where you practice

Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact
The OT Compact allows licensed occupational therapy practitioners to practice in all states that join the compact. 

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