Medical vs. Education OT

Pediatric OT for Your Child at Home and at School

Pediatric Occupational Therapist’s serve children in both medical and educational settings, where the roles differ slightly. While there are many similarities in assessment and treatment, there are differences in the regulations and funding streams which may constrain the services.   Our therapists collaborate with all the other professionals in a child’s circle of caring, regardless of whether our services are offered through your healthcare system or your school district.

Therapy Model

Medical OT for children

OT in Special Education

Eligibility based on

medical diagnosis

special education category

Eligibility requires

“medically necessary”

“necessary for access to curriculum”

Referral most often by

parent, physician

teacher, parent

Assessments Used

functional and standardized


Treatment Goals related to

skills for living

core curricular standards

Takes place in

clinic, home, community


Goal writing by

therapist with family

educational team

Priorities set by


educational team

Treatment Plan approval

family, PCP, insurance

special educational team

Implementation responsibility

family, therapist

educational team

Outcome responsibility


special education teacher

Funding responsibility

family, insurance

school district

Treatment Group most often

individual, with family

small group, with educational assistant

Treatment Approach usually

therapy activities

consultative to educators

Primary Treatment Strategy

develop skills & physical abilities

adapt curricular activities to limitations

You can download a pdf version of this table