Occupational Therapy

School-based Occupational Therapy (OT) is a type of related service given to children and families in the home (age birth up to age 3) or at school (from age 3 through age 21) to help them be more successful. A child or student may be able to get this type of help if they qualify for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Determination of service by a school-based Occupational Therapist is part of a multidisciplinary team decision, and is made so the child/student can benefit from their special education program. The service can help ensure access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). 

School-based Occupational Therapists:

  • Support a child/student’s ability to participate in daily routines, including self-help tasks, academic activities, recreation/leisure, and job skills
  • Focus on students’ strengths, can design and implement programming to improve inclusion and accessibility
  • Play a critical role in educating parents, educators, administrators and other staff members, and collaborate with educational teams to support student success
  • Have specialized knowledge of child development and training in task analysis and environmental adaptations
  • Use evidence-based practices to screen, evaluate and provide support to children, students, families, and school personnel following state and federal guidelines


Check out additional FAQs from MDE.




Please reach out for support with evaluation planning or educational programming. Guidance on when an OT should be wrapped into evaluation planning is available in the Evaluation Planning Guide.

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