OT Eligibility & Dismissal Criteria

Diane L. Vepraskas, MS, OT    


Christina A. Scheer, MHS, OT


School-Based OT

  • The provision of school-based therapy is governed by federal and state laws.  Therapy is a related service to special education and is provided only if the child needs therapy to benefit from their special education program.
  • Therapy is determined by the individual education plan (IEP) team members.  Parents are a part of this team.  The team determines the amount, frequency and duration of therapy.
  • Therapy may be provided individually or in small groups by a therapist.  Intervention may or may not be provided directly to the child.  Collaborating with educational staff to modify the child's environment and daily school activities is always a part of school therapy.
  • Therapy takes place where the child receives special education.  Appropriate intervention may be provided in classrooms, hallways, gyms, playgrounds, lunchrooms, bathrooms or in a separate therapy room.


OT   Eligibility  

In order to receive OT services, a student must demonstrate a clustering of delayed standarized test scores and/or delays in educationally related functional skills.

Functional Performance:

  • Motor/Postural:  Students must demonstrate significant difficulty maintaining functional positions and movements which support educational tasks.
  • Fine Motor/Upper Body Control: Students must demonstrate difficulty manipulating pencils or other age-appropriate tools, present with muscle weakness, have fine motor planning difficulties, and/or sensory processing delays which impair fine motor performance.
  • Visual Motor Integration:  Students must demonstrate delays in visual perception and fine motor performance that interferes with academic tasks such as handwriting and drawing.

If a child demonstrates deficits in areas treated by OT, but these deficits do not interfere with the student's independence and academic performance in the school environment, these deficits are not the responsibility of the public school system or the OT.  In these cases, services may be sought through medical or other agencies outside the school setting.


OT   Dismissal

OT service may be discontinued when any of the following occur:

  • The student’s performance is assessed to be within age expectation, based on the student’s chronological age or commensurate with cognitive abilities.
  • The established goals have been met.
  • The student’s performance has plateaued (student is no longer making progress toward identified goals).
  • The difficulties the student experiences no longer interfere with academic performance in special education.
  • The service is not needed for the student to benefit from his/her special education program.
  • The student’s parents request the termination of services.

The decision to discontinue therapy is made by the IEP Team.  This may occur when the student no longer is eligible for special education, when other members of the IEP Team can provide necessary intervention or when the child can perform school tasks without therapeutic intervention.