Occupational Therapy

Christine Mahoney - Leicester Middle School Occupational Therapist

The school’s occupational therapist (OT), Ms. Mahoney, assists students in participating in the full breadth of school activities—paying attention in class, concentrating on the task at hand, holding a pencil, musical instrument, or book in the easiest way, or just behaving appropriately in class. Despite the presence of a disability, the focus of intervention is not on remediation but rather, it is on enabling a student to make effective school progress in the least restrictive environment. The OT doesn’t just focus on the specific problem that the student’s disability presents; rather, she looks at the whole child, helping him or her find ways to fully access and be successful in the learning environment.

Ms. Mahoney works collaboratively with a multidisciplinary school team to decide the need for occupational therapy. Usually, occupational therapy is provided to students with disabilities but can also be made available to other children who are having specific problems in school such as motors skills, cognitive processing, visual or perceptual problems, mental health concerns, difficulty staying on task, disorganization, or inappropriate sensory responses. The OT consults with teachers about how classroom design affects attention, why particular children behave inappropriately at certain times, and where best to seat a child based on his or her learning style or other needs. The OT consults with and trains family members on ways to help the student succeed in school and at home.

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