What is the difference between school-based OT and clinic-based OT?
Occupational Therapy services in the public school system are mandated by Federal Law. These services are available for qualifying students ages 3 to 21. To qualify for services, a student must show an educational related difficulty which impairs his/her ability to function in the school environment. Some areas of dysfunction may include but are not limited to: keyboarding skills, handwriting, cutting, use of classroom manipulatives such as a ruler, self help skills (shoe tying, zipping, etc...), ball skills, and organization. The goal of intervention is to assist a student to function well within the school setting. Services may include remediation of an area of difficulty, helping a child learn a compensation strategy, or making an adaptation to the school environment to more effectively allow a child to participate.
Clinic based occupational therapy focuses on medical and educational issues. Services provided by a clinic address functional difficulties in a variety of environments such as home, school and the community. The goal of intervention is to assist a student to function well in all environments. There are cases when a child is not eligible for OT services in the school system but may have needs in other environments. Therefore, non-educational needs are appropriately treated in a hospital or clinic setting.