Unique Contribution of Occupational Therapy in the Evaluation Process


It is important to understand that, under special education law, the purpose of the occupational therapy evaluation is not to determine whether a child needs OT service*. Rather, the purpose of the initial team evaluation under IDEA is to:


1.  Determine the presence of a disability & SpEd eligibility


2.  Determine the educational needs of the student: to provide information that will help the team to better understand the student, their strengths and areas of need, learning style, and other useful information about the student.

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The Occupational Therapy Evaluation

An initial evaluation must be completed in order to determine eligibility for special education. When a student is referred for a special education evaluation, the team works through a formal evaluation process to determine whether or not the referred student is eligible for special education services.


The role of the occupational therapist in the public schools is to enable student participation. The purpose of the school-based occupational therapy evaluation is to assist the team in determining eligibility for special education services and, once eligibility is determined, to provide information to assist the team in formulating an appropriate educational plan.

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Do's & Don'ts for Written Reports

Common Problems with Written Evaluation Reports


-Written only to show need for OT rather than to help team to better understand and work with the student


-Difficult for parents and other non-OTs to understand


-Lots of information on test scores and ‘performance components’ and not enough information on how these impact school participation

Read more: Do's & Don'ts for Written Reports

The Evaluation Report

Each evaluator generates written evaluation summary that addresses the reason for referral and includes the procedures used, the results, and the diagnostic impression, as well as a detailed description of the student’s needs, with explicit means of meeting them.


The occupational therapy evaluation report includes an analysis of the assessment results and occupational profile information that contribute to the understanding of the student’s strengths and weaknesses as they relate to the reason for referral. This information is presented concisely in the written occupational therapy evaluation report and presented/summarized at the team meeting.

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Verbal Evaluation Reporting


Common Problems when Verbally Reporting Evaluation Results


·        Reading straight from the evaluation report rather than summarizing


·        Reporting too lengthy, losing the listeners attention and monopolizing limited meeting time


·        Reporting with jargon rather than lay terms making it difficult for others to understand

Read more: Verbal Evaluation Reporting


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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