Occupational Therapy


School-based occupational therapy practitioners are occupational therapists (OT) and occupational therapy assistants (OTA) who use meaningful activities (occupations) to help children and youth participate in what they need and/or want to do in order to promote physical and mental health and well-being. Occupational therapy addresses the physical, cognitive, psychosocial and sensory components of performance. In schools, occupational therapy practitioners focus on academics, play and leisure, social participation, self-care skills (ADLs or Activities of Daily Living), and transition/ work skills. Occupational therapy’s expertise includes activity and environmental analysis and modification with a goal of reducing the barriers to participation.

Areas that a school based occupational therapist might address:


  • Improving muscle strength, coordination, reflex integration or assisting in the development of gross or fine motor skills to enable students to better participate in school activities.  
  • Assist children in dealing with sensory differences that may cause difficulty with attention or tolerating sensory input.
  • Adapting  the classroom environment to suit the needs of the student.  Adaptations can include providing the student with classroom tools that compensate for deficit areas.  (Slant boards, different types of paper,  adapted writing implements, adapted scissors, pencil grips, preferential seating, etc.)
  • Providing the students with strategies for better handwriting, organization of work and alternative ways to complete activities. 



Nicole Kilburn, OTR/L
West Carthage Elementary
Black River Elementary
Carthage Middle School
Carthage High School

Amanda Nortz, OTR/L

Carthage Elementary
Black River Elementary

Adah Poquette, MS, OTR/L

Black River Elementary



American Occupational Therapy Association

New York State Occupational Therapy Association