What is occupational therapy?
Occupational therapy supports people to do the things they want and need to do everyday. At school this includes learning, using objects and technology, interacting with others, and looking after yourself. Occupational therapists work with the school team to make changes to the environment, task, or the equipment used, and support the student to learn and practice new skills.
Occupational therapy services in state schools
Occupational therapy services provided by the Department of Education enable students with disability to access and participate in all aspects of school life. The service supports schools to make reasonable adjustments and support the needs of students. Occupational therapists can provide services for individual students, groups of students and the school.
For more information, refer to the Information for parents and caregivers brochure (DOC, 123KB).
Who receives the service?
Occupational therapy services focus on ensuring the needs of students with intellectual disability, physical impairment, vision impairment, hearing impairment, speech-language impairment or autism spectrum disorder, are met at the school.
Services may be available for students that:
- are enrolled in a state primary, secondary or special school and have been identified as requiring significant education adjustments due to a disability through the Education Adjustment Program
- attend an early childhood development program or service
- are enrolled in Prep and are eligible for special education services or support.
How is the service delivered?
Services are requested by school teams and are based on the needs of students and/or the school team. Services are delivered through collaboration. Most of the time, strategies that support the student are embedded into curriculum activities and classroom routines. Departmental occupational therapists are committed to working collaboratively with other providers to ensure a high quality service is provided.
Services may include:
- providing information or coaching to support staff to build their skills, plan, and solve problems
- providing support and advice with assistive technology, equipment or other personalised resources
- changing the student's learning activities or classroom
- supporting the student to participate in school activities.
Occupational therapists often work in a team with physiotherapists.
How to access this service
School teams can request and negotiate services with occupational therapy and physiotherapy teams. These services can be to support students, or to build the capability of school staff to plan for and support students with disability.
Services for your school, that are not targeted toward particular students, can be negotiated with your occupational therapy and physiotherapy team.
To request a service for a student (including groups of students):
- discuss the needs of the student with their parent/carer and the student, and determine if occupational therapy and physiotherapy services are necessary and relevant
- complete the service request form (XLS, 177KB)
- request the parent/carer and/or the student consent to the service by completing the consent form (DOCX, 69KB). The form does not need to be completed if the parent/carer and/or the student does not wish to receive the service. If this is the case, do not submit the request form
- request the principal or authorised delegate for your school submit both the request form and consent form to your local or regional occupational therapy and physiotherapy team.
The process and forms for making requests for occupational therapy and physiotherapy services will be changing from the start of the 2019 school year. Your local therapy team can provide you with more information about how these changes will be implemented in your region.
Work for us
There are many opportunities for qualified, professional and team orientated occupational therapists to work collaboratively with teachers and school communities to support students in Queensland schools.