Supporting Learners with Occupational Therapy

What is Occupational Therapy?  

Occupational therapy supports anyone who has difficulty participating in an “occupation”. This does not mean “going to work,” but refers to any activity a person chooses to do. It might include daily activities that people need to do for self-care like dressing, eating, or going to the bathroom.  It can also include activities related to productivity, such as completing schoolwork, and leisure activities, like personal hobbies, or playing sports. 

In other words – if there is something you need to or want to do, and you are having difficulty doing it – occupational therapists can help support you!  

Who are Occupational Therapists?  

Occupational Therapists are regulated healthcare professionals and must be registered with their provincial regulator to practice legally in Canada. For more information, you can visit,  

When should I think about OT?  

Occupational therapy can help students having difficulty completing self-care, productivity, and leisure activities.   

This may look like difficulty with: 

  • Staying focused in lessons or classroom instruction  
  • Printing and scissor skills 
  • Balance and posture 
  • Regulating emotions 
  • Managing sensory information i.e. loud noises, bright lights, different textures, seeking sensory stimulation 
  • Socializing with peers and/or instructors 
  • Playing with toys 
  • Falling asleep or staying asleep 
  • Going to the washroom 
  • Personal hygiene 
  • Eating  

How can Occupational Therapy support LDS Learners?  

Occupational therapy uses a strengths-based approach. Therapists consider many factors about the environment, the person, and the activity to determine how best to support meaningful participation. Occupational therapists tailor interventions to each person’s unique needs. Supporting individuals in all parts of daily life allows learners to thrive in their education.  

What are some OT interventions used in education settings? 

  • Sensory strategies – sensory profile, sensory diet, sensory room and/or sensory kit 
  • Motor strategies – working on functional tasks such as buttons and zippers, Animal Fun, CO-OP approach or Print Like a Pro! 
  • Emotional Strategies – Zones of Regulation, Give Me 5, or How Does Your Engine Run  
  • Play-based Strategies – supporting children to engage in play either with peers, adapting toys, or expanding play skills  
  • Social Strategies – social stories, engaging in cooperative activities and supporting routine  

Please contact us if you have questions about how an Occupational Therapist can support your child’s learning.  

Jodie L. and Julia D., UBC Master of Occupational Therapy students

LDS is a community of dedicated professionals who write collaboratively. We recognize the contribution of unnamed team members for their wisdom and input.