School Based Occupational Therapy OT/PT                                                                                                                                                     

    What is school-based occupational therapy?

    School-based occupational therapy services are designed to ensure that the student is able to benefit from his/her educational programming with regard to fine motor functional independence.  School-based occupational therapy (OT) is provided only if a medical diagnosis or fine motor delay is determined by the IEP team to have an adverse effect on the student’s performance at school. Children who qualify for clinical or outpatient occupational therapy services may not qualify for school-based OT.

    As such, students who are currently receiving occupational therapy from a medical outpatient facility should continue with their medical-based occupational therapy.  School-based occupational therapy is not a replacement for medical-based occupational therapy. 

    Who is eligible:

    School-based occupational therapy is a related service provided to any special education student who demonstrates deficits in fine motor functioning that may affect their academic performance. Occupational therapists focus on the evaluation of PreK-12 students’ fine motor skills and needs. Primary attention is given to ensuring that each student has the fine motor ability to effectively access his or her educational environment.

    How is eligibility determined:

    The IEP team meets and determines if fine motor skills are affecting the student’s academic performance.  If recommended, an Occupational Therapist completes an assessment of fine motor skills that includes identifying deficits in handwriting skills, strength, coordination, sensory regulation within the school setting. Occupational therapists are concerned with an individual’s ability to participate in desired daily life activities or “occupational performance”. Within the school environment, occupational therapists focus on facilitating independence with learning and school-related activities.


    School-based occupational therapy can support students and staff in a variety of settings and ways.

    Direct Services:

    • Seating/positioning modifications
    • Classroom management
    • Fine motor skill development for handwriting or keyboarding skills
    • Social participation skills
    • Motor skills for engagement in activities
    • Self-advocacy skills
    • Promote independence in self-feeding
    • Develop peer relationships
    • Organizing self and materials
    • Safety Seating needs
    • Evacuation procedures
    • Geographical orientation
    • Locker management
    • Assistive technology
    • Self-care in the bathroom

    Indirect / Consultative Services:

    • Staff Training
    • Assess/Support Equipment Use
    • Building assessment to determine environmental barriers
    • Transitions from school to community
    • Career site and community outings support
    • Education of students/staff including disability awareness information and activities.


    Discharge from School-Based Occupational Therapy 

    The ultimate goal is for the student to achieve functional independence; occupational therapy may be used to aid the child in this goal.  Discharge is a collaborative team decision.  The team may consider discharge when: the student no longer qualifies for special education, or other staff may be able to provide the necessary interventions, or their needs are being met in the classroom through accommodations or modifications, or when the student has met their school-based occupational therapy goals and are able to successfully participate in current educational curriculum. 


  • What to do if you have fine motor concerns for your child?  

    Parents are encouraged to first speak to their classroom teacher regarding their concerns. If the teacher also shares these concerns then either the parent or teacher can contact the building occupational therapist.


    OT/PT Department Movement Mazes

    What is a Movement Maze?

    When students are struggling to pay attention and participate due to self-regulatory differences, the use of mazes can help students regain control and return to an optimal state for learning in order to make the most of their educational time at school.  Movement mazes help students get ready to learn by: getting their wiggles out, taking a brain break, releasing frustrations, improving balance, practicing self-control, feeling happy, getting stronger and restoring energy.


    Why use Movement Mazes?

    Movements Mazes help provide an additional strategy to help students achieve, maintain, or regain self-regulation for better attention and learning. The mazes provide opportnities to improve essential skills such as crossing midline, motor planning, coordination, and balance, that contribute to school performance.


    How are Movement Mazes used?

    The mazes can be used as a preventative strategy, as a transistion strategy, or as a brain break.  They may be done individually with students or in a large group.  Frequency of use and consistency of use play a role in the effectiveness of the maze.


    Where are the Movement Mazes located?

    The following Columbus City Schools currently have Movement Mazes installed in them:

    -Alpine Elementary School
    -Avalon Elementary School
    -Avondale Elementary School 
    -Beatty Park Elementary School
    -Berwick K-8
    -Binns Elementary
    -Broadleigh Elementary School
    -Burroughs Elementary School
    -Cassady Elementary School
    -Cedarwood Alternative Elementary School
    -Clinton Elementary School
    -Columbus Global Academy
    -Como Elementary School
    -Devonshire Elementary School
    -Duxberry Park Elementary School
    -Eakin Elementary School 
    -East Linden Elementary School 
    -Eastgate Elementary School
    -Easthaven Elementary School
    -Ecole Kenwood Elementary School
    -Fairmoor Elementary School
    -Fairwood Elementary School
    -Gables Elementary School
    -Georgian Heights Elementary School 
    -Hamilton STEM Academy
    -Highland Elementary School
    -Hubbard Mastery School
    -Huy Elementary School
    -Indian Springs Elementary School
    -Innis Elementary School
    -Leawood Elementary School
    -Liberty Elementary School
    -Lindbergh Elementary School
    -Linden Park Elementary School
    -Livingston Elementary School
    -Oakland Park Elementary School
    -Maize Elementary School 
    -Moler Elementary School
    -North Linden Elementary School
    -Northtowne Elementary School
    -Oakmont Elementary School
    -Olde Orchard Alternative School
    -Ohio Avenue Elementary School
    -Parkmoor Elementary School
    -Salem Elementary School
    -Shady Lane Elementary School
    -Southwood Elementary School
    -Starling K-8
    -Sullivant Elementary School
    -Watkins Elementary School
    -Westgate Elementary School
    -West Mound Elementary School
    -Winterset Elementary School
    -Woodcrest Year Round School
    -Valley Forge Elementary School
    -South Mifflin STEM Academy
    -Parsons Elementary School
    -Weinland Park Elementary School
    -Buckeye Middle School
    -Dominion Middle School
    -Wedgewood Middle School
    -East High School
    -Eastmoor Academy High School