Occupational therapy focuses on a person’s ability to participate in desired daily life activities or “occupations.” At JPII, that means a child’s “occupation” is being a student. Occupational Therapy helps students facing physical, cognitive, or mental health challenges that affect their school performance, socialization, and health. School-based Occupational Therapy assessment and intervention focuses on certain areas such as activities of daily living, education, play, and social participation.
Helping Through Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapists observe, assess, and implement strategies addressing a student’s level of performance in developmental areas such as:
• Gross Motor (balance, coordination, motor planning, mobility)
• Fine Motor (manipulation of objects, grip strength)
• Visual Motor (coordination of eyes and hands)
• Visual Perception (ability to interpret and use what is seen)
• Sensory (ability to process/regulate input from senses)
• Social-emotional (ability to share, take turns, collaborate with other students)
Occupational Therapy addresses functional skills in the school environment:
• Handwriting (holding pencil correctly, forming letters and numbers, positioning, spacing, etc.)
• Cutting (positioning, endurance, accurate/precise cutting)
• Coloring (pressure, endurance, accuracy)
• Use of classroom materials (glue, tape, building materials)
• Computer (keyboarding, ergonomics, using mouse)
• Self-care (personal hygiene, tying, zipping, buttoning, using utensils)
• Organization (completing classroom tasks, puzzles, drawing)
• Attention/listening (following directions, impulse control)
• Movement (movement throughout school environment, using playground equipment, participating in group activities)
At John Paul II Center, the Occupational Therapist collaborates with the teachers and staff to develop activities and lessons to improve students’ academic and daily living skills.
The therapist will also suggest assistive technology and modifications to tasks to help the student be successful. Through group and individual sessions, students work to achieve functional abilities and engagement in daily activities.