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Occupational Therapy

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Occupational therapy services in state schools

Our occupational therapists (OT) support schools to make adjustments that enable students with disability to access the curriculum and participate in the full range of school life including joining in school activities, playing and interacting with other people, moving safely around the school, and looking after themselves while at school.

Who are the services for?

Occupational therapy services are needs based, and are not available for all students. OTs may support your child’s school to make adjustments if your child:

  • attends a state school or early childhood development program
  • has a disability
  • needs significant adjustments to their education program
  • needs an OT’s support to participate in activities at schools or to achieve their learning goals.

What can I expect for my child?

OT services support the school to make the reasonable adjustments that will enable your child to be at school and learn.

If your child’s school asks for help from an OT you can expect that, with your consent:

  • the OT will assess your child’s skills and their school environment to help the school team to identify their strengths, needs and any barriers to learning and participating at school. The assessment could happen through observations in class or specific school activities, or one on one
  • the OT will talk to you, the school team and, if appropriate, your child, about goals for schooling and the strategies that the school team can use to achieve the goals
  • tailored supports will be built into your child’s school day.

The service focuses on building the skills of the people working with your child every day at school and making sure your child can be included in the activities that their class is doing.

We do this by working with the school team to make changes to activities, the equipment used, how instructions are given and how the environment is set up, depending on what your child needs to be successful.

Most of the time, your child will not be pulled out of class for an assessment or other support provided by the occupational therapist.

Our occupational therapy services work differently to how they might happen in a hospital, a private practice or delivered through the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

What should I do if I believe my child needs OT supports at school?

Talk to your child’s class teacher or the school principal if you think your child needs OT to access or participate in their education.

Occupational therapy services can only be requested by your child’s teacher.

The teacher will ask you first before they make a request for occupational therapy services. You can include information about any concerns or goals you have in the teacher’s request.

Do you work with other providers?

Yes. We understand that your child may be accessing support from a range of service providers so their needs in the home and community can be met.

If your child is receiving therapy services from someone else, let us know so we can work with them. Your child will not be prevented from accessing our service if they are also getting occupational therapy from another provider.

Can I be involved?

Yes. If your child is receiving occupational therapy services, you can talk to your occupational therapist and the school team about these services.

More information

Read the Occupational therapy and physiotherapy services brochure (PDF, 360KB) for more information.

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Last updated 04 October 2019