The Lead Occupational Therapist’s goal is to provide department oversight and support to assist occupational therapy staff in the provision of educationally related therapy services to students that fulfill students’ IEP goals and support them in obtaining their educational goals. The occupational therapist provides a continuum of services and supports to students under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The goal of intervention is to reduce barriers to the student’s participation in and to enhance the functional performance of school activities and educational programs required in their role as a student. In the school setting, occupational therapy services address the physical, cognitive, psychosocial and sensory components of performance by focusing on academics, play and leisure, social participation, self-care skills, and transition/work skills for children and students with disabilities, 3 to 21 years of age. (Adapted from AOTA’s Occupational Therapy in the School Setting 2010 and AOTA’s What is the Role of the School Based OT Practitioner 2013).
Duties and Responsibilities
- Serves as a liaison between schools, special education department, and office of student services on matters pertinent to occupational therapy services.
- Mentors OT staff and coordinates professional development opportunities.
- Interviews and aides in onboarding of new occupational therapy staff.
- Facilitates the monthly occupational therapy meetings.
- Monitors service delivery logs and paperwork related to OT service delivery.
- Attends annual VDOE lead OT/PT meeting to ensure division compliance with state and federal regulations.
- Completes summer evaluations, eligibilities, IEP’s, and coordinates summer services (if an 11-month position).
- Coordinates with the Supervisor of Health Services to determine therapist placements and assign departmental duties.
- Coordinates and is responsible for monitoring and maintaining all testing supplies, publications and materials necessary for occupational therapists.
- Acts as a liaison between school district administrative personnel and occupational therapists.
- Collaborates with Special Education coordinators to develop processes related to OT.
- Collaborates with division level MTSS and coaching teams. Conducts, as scheduling permits, screenings, consultations, and classroom observations, and provides recommendations.
- Provides services for struggling learners using a multi-tiered approach.
- Participates on collaborative teams.
- Conducts evaluations of motor development, adaptive skills, perceptual and sensory integrative skills, and work performance skills with parental permission, and provides written assessment reports based on these evaluations.
- Develops and implements an individualized education plan for each student receiving occupational therapy services, including annual goals and short-term objectives.
- Provides therapeutic intervention services for special education students found eligible by the Eligibility/IEP committee.
- Participates as needed in eligibility and individualized education plan (IEP), conferences of students referred.
- Performs reevaluations for triennial review of those students receiving occupational therapy services.
- Establishes and coordinates occupational therapy schedule with other therapists and teachers, allowing flexibility for classroom structure plus travel, consultation, planning, and evaluation time.
- Provides quarterly updates on students’ progress and recommendations for continued therapy.
- Recommends, and/or orders supplies and equipment required for treatment programs and system-wide educational support.
- Assesses the need for adaptive equipment, fabricates or fits the equipment for individual students, and trains classroom staff in its proper use.
- Provides consultation and monitoring to teachers and parents for suggestions, carryover of appropriate exercises, and activities and use of adaptive equipment.
- Consults with physicians and other agencies concerning students receiving occupational therapy services, if needed.
- Recommends discontinuation upon maximum benefit from educationally relevant occupational therapy services.
- Provides in-service programs upon request.
- Attends specialty courses and workshops, professional conferences, and in-services as time, budget, and selection permit.
- Adheres to the legal and ethical aspects of occupational therapy practice in the state of Virginia, and related regulations and rules of the employing school division.
- Communicates with Coordinator of Health Services, Supervisor of Special Education, Director of Student Services, and building principals on matters pertinent to occupational therapy services.
- Models the WJCC Strategic Plan Values: Individualism, Integrity, Innovation, Accountability and Collaboration.
- Performs other duties as assigned.
Minimum Qualifications (Knowledge, Skills and/or Abilities Required)
Master’s Degree in occupational therapy and minimum 5 years’ experience as an occupational therapist preferred. State license as an Occupational Therapist.
Certified occupational therapy assistants, occupational therapy students from accredited colleges and universities, and volunteers.
Performs duties under the supervision of the Director of Special Education.
Working Conditions and Physical Requirements
Manual dexterity to dial a telephone, enter data on a computer, see and read a computer screen with or without visual aids. Hear and understand speech at normal classroom levels, outdoors and on the telephone. Speak in audible tones so that others may understand clearly in normal classrooms, outdoors and on the telephone. Physical agility to lift up to 25 pounds to shoulder height and 50 pounds to waist height. Physical ability to bend, to stoop, to sit on the floor, to climb stairs, to walk and to reach overhead. Possession of a valid driver’s license. Essential duties are typically performed in the school environment. Duties may occasionally be performed on field trips away from school. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.