The occupation in school is learning, and movement matters!
Students learn best when they have structured and consistent movement breaks throughout the day. Movement helps the brain reorganize and helps the body re-energize. This is important at home, too – getting enough exercise throughout the day promotes a healthy mind and body.
Occupational therapists and physical therapists can provide teachers and parents with ideas and resources to promote movement for learning.
Some students with disabilities may require more focused consultation or direct therapy services to help them achieve individualized education program (IEP) goals or objectives, or as an accommodation in a 504 plan. Therapists also use assistive technology to help students with learning and movement activities.
Movement is especially important for students with disabilities, as they sometimes have a limited ability to
- move independently,
- control movements,
- achieve adequate endurance,
- organize school work, or
- stay focused on a task.
Occupational therapy (OT) is provided when no other team member can address a student’s significant needs at school in the following areas:
- Fine motor
- Sensory processing
Physical therapy (PT) is provided when no other team member can address a student’s significant needs at school in these areas:
- Gross motor
OT and PT are related services to special education. A student must first qualify for special education (have an IEP) or a 504 plan before OT or PT services can be considered.