Improving Children’s Lives
Occupational Therapy (OT) is one of the many specialties that assists students with improving, “physical, cognitive, psychosocial and sensory components of performance,” says the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA). OT essentially helps eliminate barriers that affect one’s emotional, social, and physical needs using everyday activities, exercises, and other therapy. Therapists guide students by focusing on academics, play and leisure, social participation, self-care, and transition/work skills, to emphasize learning how to strengthen those elements together and on their own.
Funding for occupational therapy programs in public schools is guided by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Its purpose, “makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children.” This includes occupational and other services and programs to provide the best educational opportunities regardless of a students disabilities.
Equal access to education for students with disabilities can be attributed to things such as occupational therapy, existing laws, continued advocacy, and social awareness. We encourage you to continue the conversation by doing more research, speaking with the occupational therapists you know, and supporting efforts towards equality in the classroom for students of differing abilities.