The East Valley SELPA employs occupational therapists who provide services directly to eligible students with disabilities in its member districts. Occupational therapists working in school settings use unique expertise to help children prepare for and perform important learning and school related activities to fulfill their roles as students (American Occupational Therapy Association, 2015). School-based occupational therapy is governed by federal and state laws and is a related service for students with an identified disability who have an individualized education program (IEP) and receive other special education services. It is provided to children who need therapy to function in the educational setting. Therefore, if the IEP team has exhausted the strategies, activities, or resources available and believe that occupational therapy is necessary for the child to benefit from his/her educational program, a referral should be made.
Prior to providing occupational therapy services, an assessment is conducted by a licensed occupational therapist to determine the appropriateness and necessity of services. TThe primary areas of focus for occupational therapy services are fine motor, sensory processing, and coordination skills. Interventions aim at addressing the foundational skills and exploring external adaptations or alternative ways of completing activities.