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Occupational Therapy in the Classroom

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1 Occupational Therapy in the Classroom
Presented By: Occupational Therapy Department Luzerne Intermediate Unit 18 Date: April 17, 2005

2 The Role of Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapists focus on an individual’s ability to perform functional tasks within the school setting improving the student’s ability to benefit from their education.

3 Areas of School Function
Mobility ADL’s School Routines Written Communication Play and Leisure Pre-vocational Skills Vocational Skills Social Skills

4 Mobility Range of Motion Adaptive Equipment
Consultation to physical education teacher and regular education teacher Home exercise program

5 Activities of Daily Living
Fine motor coordination skills such as buttoning, zipping and snapping Donning/doffing coat Tying shoes Compensatory strategies

6 School Routines Adapt student schedule Building orientation
Self-monitoring program Consultation with teachers

7 Pre-vocational Skills
Fine motor skills Gross motor skills Interests Attention span Ability to follow directions Physical limitations

8 Vocational Skills On-site evaluation and training
Adaptations as needed to perform Recommendations for placement Consultation with teachers, parents and community resources

9 Play and Leisure Gross motor skills Fine motor skills
Physical limitations Adaptations to toys Interest survey Social skills

10 Social Skills Communication skills Attention span Physical limitations
Interests Behavior Functioning age level

11 Written Communication
Fine motor skills Posture/positioning Pencil grip Special paper Perceptual motor skills Alternate methods of written work

12 Handwriting Performance Components
Body and spatial awareness Laterality Directionality Visual Perception Visual Motor Integration Postural Stability/Control

13 Handwriting Performance Components (cont’d)
Proximal Stability In-Hand Manipulation Hand Strength Motor Planning Ocular Motor Control Bilateral Integration Eye-Hand Coordination

14 Pre-writing Skills The mastery of handwriting requires development of pre-writing skills. Addressing these skills through activities, play, and instruction will help to build a strong foundation for handwriting. By the latter half of kindergarten, most normally developing students have acquired the following skills:

15 Pre-Writing Skills (con’t)
An established dominance for coloring, drawing, or using a fork. The ability to cross the midline of the body. A functional pencil grasp. An understanding of directional terms and the ability to recognize similarities and differences in forms.

16 Pre-Writing Skills (con’t)
The ability to copy basic lines and shapes. The ability to use two hands in an activity. The ability to coordinate eyes and hands together. The ability to maintain an adequate sitting posture. Orientation to print. If there are students that have not mastered or are struggling with these skills it is during kindergarten that there should be intervention.

17 Ergonomics of Handwriting
Ergonomics is the science of adapting the work space or work conditions in order for the worker to be successful. Factors that need to be taught and reinforced for handwriting include:

18 Writing Posture Comfortable/Upright Feet flat on the floor
Knees and hips at 90 degrees Appropriate desk height Chair and desk have to fit properly

19 Pencil Grip Dynamic tripod grasp most commonly used by children and adults Should be reinforced with most students Difficult to alter after a child starts 2nd grade

20 Paper Position Cursive-slant of 30 degrees to left for right-handers and 35 to 45 degrees to the right for left-handers Masking tape on desk to mark the correct slant

21 Compensatory Strategies (con’t)
Have student work on an inclined surface(blackboard, easel or slant board) Use a tongue depressor, popsicle stick or students finger for spacing of words Use large graph paper Turn lined paper sideways for columns for math problems

22 Compensatory Strategies (con’t)
Emphasize lines on paper by visual or tactile cues Emphasize directional terms Have student use a computer for assignments Provide visual alphabet on desk for reference Reduce the writing load Allow student to give oral reports/demonstrations

23 Functional Handwriting Tasks
Complete address and telephone books Address envelopes Make and send cards Fill out forms/applications Label maps Make shopping lists Write a to-do list

24 Functional Handwriting Tasks (con’t)
Write recipe cards Write thank-you notes Work on crosswords Send postcards/letters Get a pen pal Keep a diary or journal

25 Poor Handwriting Cycle

26 IMPORTANT !!! Remember it will be very difficult if not impossible to change once an ineffective grip is established. Early intervention is a must !!!

27 Web Resources Handwriting
The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. - Helping people of all ages develop skills for the job of living

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