Occupational Therapy in High School
Occupational therapy in high school and primary school settings serve different purposes and focus on distinct developmental stages.
In primary school, occupational therapists primarily work with younger children to support the development of foundational skills necessary for academic success. This includes activities related to fine motor skills, handwriting, sensory integration, and socialization. They may also assist in identifying and addressing early signs of developmental delays or difficulties.
In contrast, occupational therapy in high school shifts its focus towards preparing students for the transition into adulthood. They collaborate with students to create personalized plans that facilitate successful transitions to post-secondary education, employment, or other post-school activities. The goal is to equip students with the skills and confidence needed to navigate the demands of adulthood and achieve their long-term goals.
So how exactly does an occupational therapist support high school students?
- Improving fine motor skills: Students may need assistance with fine motor skills such as writing, typing, or using technology, which are essential for academic success. OT can help students improve these skills through exercises and adaptations, such as the use of adaptive equipment.
- Promoting independence: OT can help students develop the skills they need to be more independent in their daily lives, including self-care, cooking, and organizational skills.
- Addressing sensory processing issues: Adolescents with autism or other disabilities may experience sensory processing difficulties that can impact their ability to participate in school and social activities. OT can help students regulate their sensory system and provide strategies to manage their sensory sensitivities.
- Supporting transition to post-secondary education or employment: OT can help students with disabilities plan for their future and transition to post-secondary education or employment. This may involve helping students develop the skills and abilities needed for their chosen career or assisting with the college application process.
- Promoting social skills: Adolescents with disabilities may struggle with social skills, such as communication and interpersonal relationships, which are essential for success in school and beyond. OT can help students develop and practice these skills in a supportive and structured environment.
Occupational therapists in high school help students develop vocational skills, independent living skills, executive functioning abilities, and social-emotional competence. Occupational therapy plays a crucial role in supporting the development and success of high school students with disabilities. By helping students acquire the skills and abilities they need to participate in school, work, and community activities, OT can help ensure that they are prepared for the future.