Occupational Therapy

The goal of Occupational Therapy (OT) at The Schenck School is to optimize a student’s performance and participation in the classroom environment. A child’s occupation in school is to learn and participate as independently as possible during all parts of the school day.

The Occupational Therapists (OT’s) address difficulties with “foundational skills” that directly impact a student’s classroom performance. These include skills such as: fine motor/gross motor, visual perceptual/motor, and sensory processing. Through a school-based evaluation which involves standardized testing and clinical observations, the student’s strengths and needs are determined.

Referrals for OT are made by classroom teachers. If appropriate, an evaluation is completed and goals are established for the student. OT provided during a student’s school day address difficulties that directly impact classroom performance. Private Occupational Therapy is available after school to address difficulties that may affect participation in activities outside the school setting.

In addition to individual therapy, the OT department provides the following services:

  • TOT Time (“Time with the OT’s) - each week, all kindergarten students participate in small sensory motor groups in the occupational therapy room, lead by an occupational therapist. The groups focus on social skills, sequencing, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, sensory integration, and self-help skills.
  • Handwriting Lessons - the OT’s teach handwriting lessons once per week in all first and second grade classes. Lessons incorporate gross motor, fine motor, and sensory elements that optimize motor memory, emphasize correct letter formation, and enhance overall handwriting legibility.
  • Shoe-Tying Workshop - the OT’s lead several ten-day workshops for students to practice and become proficient at tying their shoes. Students participate each day for several minutes and receive explicit instruction and repetition of shoe-tying techniques.
  • Desk Checks - the OT’s provide ergonomic assessments within the classrooms, aimed at ensuring that each student has an appropriately sized desk and chair. The OT department also provides alternate seating options for students who may benefit from non-traditional seating and desk options.
  • The Alert Program (How Does Your Engine Run?) - the OT department provides teacher education and classroom support using The Alert Program, which is a tool for self-regulation.