Fort Myers OT Explains In-Clinic vs. School-Based
If your child has been referred to pediatric occupational therapy services, you may be wondering what’s the point of getting both in-clinic occupational therapy AND school-based occupational therapy. As a Fort Myers OT can explain, these are often similarly-qualified professionals who can help children develop and improve on key life skills. But their focus is slightly different.
Whereas in-clinic occupational therapists can help kids work on any virtually deficit area within our scope of practice, the school-based occupational therapists are going to be aiming to tackle issues that directly impact a student’s access to and success within education.
In-clinic Fort Myers OT services, like those at FOCUS Therapy, are accessible with a doctor’s referral. This is sometimes done in conjunction with a diagnosis like autism, down syndrome, or cerebral palsy. But sometimes it’s merely a global developmental delay.
School-based OT services, on the other hand, are administered with an IEP, or individualized education program, which is guaranteed to students of different needs under the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Having a doctor’s referral to OT services isn’t critical in securing school-based services, but it’s certainly weighed in consideration of whether an IEP is appropriate.
A school-based Fort Myers OT is going to aim at assisting with skills like:
- Visual motor and fine motor skills necessary for tasks like typing, writing, and finishing homework.
- Activities of daily living within a school day. These would include things like eating independently at lunchtime, changing into gym clothes, etc.
- Core strengthening necessary to maintain good posture for focusing on and completing school-related activities.
- Executive functioning skills necessary for organization, planning, attention, time management, and coping with changes in a routine.
- Sensory processing skills needed to help a student actively participate throughout a school day.
They’re going to look carefully at enhancing a student’s ability to learn, participate in class, and engage in daily school routines.
Meanwhile, an in-clinic Fort Myers OT at FOCUS Therapy often helps kids work on these same skills, but does so regardless of whether it’s integral to success solely within a school day. We are interested in their success in ALL settings – from the moment they wake to the moment they fall asleep. That can include school-based skills, but also those that have an impact on their daily routines, extracurricular activities, social skills, etc. We address a broader range of conditions and needs.
Clinic-based OTs can also generally start working with kids at a much younger age than those who receive services from a school-based OT. School-based OT services generally aren’t going to start until a child is at least in preschool. In-clinic Fort Myers OT services can sometimes begin in infancy, with a doctor’s referral. This kind of early intervention is critical to helping kids with certain conditions catch up developmentally to their peers. It reduces the skills gap, putting our patients on track to be as successful as possible – not only at school, but in life.
Ultimately, in-school occupational therapy and in-clinic occupational therapy are services that compliment each other. Kids benefit from these supports in both arenas, especially when they start at a young age.
FOCUS offers pediatric speech therapy in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.
What is Occupational Therapy? American Occupational Therapy Association
More Blog Entries:
Improving Executive Functioning Skills for Kids is Often a Top Therapy Goal, Sept. 30, 2023, FOCUS Therapy Fort Myers OT Blog