OTPF How-to Guides

Incorporating the Occupational Therapy Practice Framework (OTPF) into Public School Practice

The OTPF validates school practice. In the public schools, occupational therapy is already occupation-based making it relatively easy to incorporate the OTPF into practice. The primary focus of OT in the public schools is on engagement in occupation in order to facilitate student participation. OTs in school-based practice have the benefit of working with students directly within the context in which they are having difficulties in order to address occupational performance.



•    Focuses on engagement in occupation to support participation
•    Addresses the interaction of the client (student), the context and the demands of the activity
•    Requires evidence-based decisions


All of these align well with the special education laws & regulations governing school-based practice.


12 Ways to incorporate the OTPF into your school-based practice:

1.  Shift to more occupation-based practice – promoting the unique contribution of occupational therapy

2.  Broaden your view of who the client is – in the school this may be the student, teacher, parent, school, or district – and increase collaboration with your clients

3.  Increase understanding of what is important to the client(s)

4.  Stay current within the OT profession by using updated terminology

5.  Priorities and focus of intervention shift from performance component-based services (e.g. handwriting or fine motor specialist) to looking at the whole student within the learning environment encompassing a broader scope or domain of practice

6.  Focus evaluations, interventions and outcomes on occupation and participation in context

7.  Use occupation-based assessment tools

8.  Include a contextual observation in your evaluation

9.  Include an occupational profile in your evaluation with input regarding what is important to the client(s)

10. Provide more intervention in context (in line with least restrictive environment mandate for school practice) and focus on more real life occupation based activities during intervention

11. Change the way you write goals, document and take data - promote occupation-based student goals that are team goals rather than ‘OT goals’, and are related to participation in context rather than to underlying performance components

12. Use available evidence to guide practice




How many schools do you cover?

one - 9.7%
two - 32.3%
three - 25.8%
four - 12.9%
five or more - 19.4%

Total votes: 31
The voting for this poll has ended on: November 17, 2013

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