School Occupational Therapy Program

Occupational Therapists (OTs) are health professionals who work with children in many different settings and who know a lot about motor development, sensory processing as well as environmental set up, adaptations and accessibility.

  • Fine and visual motor skills are important for school activities such as: drawing, colouring, printing, writing, keyboarding, using a computer, cutting with scissors, opening lunch containers, completing fasteners on clothing, tying shoelaces, using a lock, etc.
  • Gross motor skills are important in school for: moving safely in the classroom and through the school, participating in gym activities as well as playing on the playground and playground equipment, etc.
  • Sensory processing in school is important for things like: being comfortable with noises and sounds within the school, being able to tolerate getting ready for outdoors in crowded hallways, being able to sit or stand at a desk or on the floor to complete work or listen to instructions, etc.
  • Environmental set up in school includes things like: making sure desk and chair heights are the “right fit” for students, identifying the best location for desk placement or quiet work/learning areas, exploring alternative seating options (i.e., chair, movement cushion, stool, stand-up desks) for students and ensuring accessible space for wheelchairs, etc.

The OT will be part of the school team and accessible to all school staff as well as to parents. While at the school, the OT will spend time in many areas of the school (i.e. classrooms, gym, music, playground, etc.) and will observe students engaged in their school activities. The OT will guide school staff in understanding how they can use activities within the classroom to help children with their motor and sensory skills. If the OT, together with your child’s teacher, notice that your child is having difficulty with the motor or sensory demands in the classroom or school, the teacher will contact you to discuss making an individual referral to the School Therapy OT Program. If you have questions or concerns about your child’s motor or sensory development please feel free to contact the OT as well as your child’s classroom teacher.

If a family doctor, pediatrician or other health agency would like your child to be seen by the School Therapy OT program, the referral request must be communicated to the school-based Student Services Team or classroom teacher for a referral to be initiated.

The Occupational Therapist for your school for this school year is Colleen MacPherson. If you have any questions please feel free to contact the school or Colleen at (902) 326-2876 / cgmacpherson@ihis.org.

OT Tips for Sleep

 
Sleep- are you getting enough? 

Sleep is essential for us to be our best during the day. 

Did you know that the Public Health Agency recommends: 

  • 9–11 hours of sleep for children ages 5–13 years old
  • 8–10 hours of sleep/night for children 14–17 years old
  • 7-9 hours of sleep for people ages 18-64 years old
  • 7-8 hours of sleep for people aged 65 years +
 
Here are some tips if your child is having trouble sleeping 
  • Use dark curtains or place sheets on windows to darken bedroom
  • Turn alarm clock away from you if it is too bright
  • Take a warm bath before bed as this can help you relax
  • Warm up bed sheets in the dryer if your bed feels too cold, however your room should be a cool temperature
  • No screen time at least one hour before bedtime
  • Listen to soft music or white noise such as a fan (which can be pointed away from you!)
  • Try heavy blankets/quilts on the bed
  • Use progressive muscle relaxation before bed.
  • Avoid heavy meals too close to bedtime
  • Enjoy some time out in nature during the day
  • If pets are keeping you or your child awake, put them in another room during the night if possible.
  • Try to keep your bedroom a work-free (and homework-free) zone, if possible.