Occupational Therapy (OT)

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy (OT) focuses on helping people achieve independence in all areas of their lives.  It uses play, adaptive and functional activities to promote quality of life, develop functional skills, increase independence and minimise disability.

Occupational Therapy at Dove House School

Occupational Therapy at Dove House offers a variety of positive, motivating activities to support pupils with important skills needed in everyday life, helping to achieve maximum levels of function, independence and self-esteem.

The Occupational Therapist works as part of the team at Dove House, liaising and communicating with school staff, helping the pupil’s skills across the curriculum.

Occupational Therapy at Dove House School is provided in-house and was established in 2009 to meet the needs of a growing number of pupils identified as having OT needs.  The specialist paediatric occupational therapist works at the school for three days per week.

Referral and Assessment

Pupils have priority for OT if it is identified on their EHCP, however, any pupil attending Dove House School can be referred.

A referral to OT would be appropriate if there is a specific difficulty which impacts the pupil’s ability to carry out everyday tasks at home, school, and play. This may include difficulties in the following areas:

  • Fine and gross motor skills
  • Sensory processing
  • Visual perceptual skills
  • Handwriting and use of classroom tools
  • Self care and independence skills
  • Equipment/environmental modification needs for school

Any pupil referred to OT will have an initial assessment. This can include standardised tests, clinical observations, parental or child questionnaire, functional activities, classroom observation and liaison with parents and school staff.


The exact nature and amount of OT will depend on a child’s needs. The delivery and focus of therapy is determined by the occupational therapist in conjunction with the provision described in the pupil’s EHCP.

This may involve:

  • Direct therapy either one to one or in pairs/ groups.
  • Advice and information to school staff and families
  • Individual sensory or motor programmes for school or home
  • Individual classroom strategies and targets  to develop pupil’s skills within the classroom
  • Recommending equipment to increase independence.
  • Making recommendations to make the school environment more accessible.



Occupational therapy goals aim to be ‘just right’ so that the child can achieve and progress.  OT targets are set for the pupil’s EHCP Review and these are regularly reviewed throughout the year.  An occupational therapy progress report is provided for the pupil’s EHCP annual review.