Succeed at School
From improving motor skills and attention span to addressing behavioural and mental health issues, there are many ways OTs can help you or your child succeed in school.
Just look at how OT helped James, a Grade 3 student who had problems with writing, gym activities, and everyday tasks such as tying shoelaces and using a knife and fork. His OT developed strategies and worked with James’ teacher to incorporate them into James’ Individual Education Plan. Working with the teacher to integrate OT strategies into his school program ensured that James had the tools he needed to improve his performance in class and in the gym. Read James’s story.
If you or your child are finding it hard to do certain tasks at school, your OT can help:
Develop school skills
OTs can help youth develop the skills they need to thrive in school, such as:
- social and behavioural skills
- learning to organize better
- paying attention in class
- coping with stress or pressure
- transitioning from one school/grade to another or from school to work
An OT program can also address physical issues, such as:
- printing and cursive handwriting skills
- building arm and hand strength
- learning to dress with modified clothing
- gym activities to develop coordination and promote program participation
Modify and adapt school tasks
OTs are experts at breaking down tasks and can work with the student and school team to identify challenges in day-to-day activities. An OT may suggest changes such as:
- simplified worksheets
- lines added to provide a visual guide
- reduced classroom work
- more time to finish work
- scheduled breaks
- extra time to get ready for recess
- pre-teaching of gym skills to improve coordination
Adapt the environment
An OT may suggest changes to the school environment to help a student participate more fully. This may include changes to desk and chair set-up, accessibility of the playground, bathroom or gym, or classroom set up to reduce distractions. This could also be something as simple as modifying everyday items in the classroom, such as the student’s pencil or keyboard.
Make assistive technology part of learning
When an OT finds that a student with physical or learning challenges needs assistive technology to participate in class, they can recommend hardware, software or other equipment. OTs can also work with school staff to make the most of what the school may already have available.