The Occupational Therapist's Handbook for Inclusive School Practices

Authors: Julie Causton, Chelsea P. Tracy-Bronson; Foreword Authors: Jane Case-Smith, Norman Kunc M.Sc.

Format: Paperback, 184 pages, 7.0 x 10.0
ISBN: 9781598573619
Price: $32.95

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A great occupational therapist is a key success factor in your inclusive school—OTs are on the front lines every day, making critical decisions that help students access the curriculum and fully participate. This is the friendly, down-to-earth survival guide OTs need to deliver their important services effectively as part of an inclusive school team. Packed with practical guidance and tips, examples that relate directly to an OT's daily practice, and first-person insights from seasoned OTs, this guidebook is key to helping students develop new skills in key areas, from motor skills and mobility to academic achievement and friendships. All new OTs should read this book before their first day in an inclusive school—and veteran OTs will find it invaluable for ensuring that supports are delivered in the least restrictive environment.


  • collaborate with other members of the school team
  • choose and use environmental, behavioral, social, and academic supports that help students succeed
  • stay focused on strengths and abilities rather than disability
  • use an RTI framework to deliver appropriate levels of support
  • match supports to students' specific strengths
  • avoid "the Velcro effect" and support student independence
  • facilitate peer supports and friendships
  • resolve challenging behavior in gentle, positive ways
  • keep expectations high for all students

PRACTICAL MATERIALS: Tools and checklists to help organize team meeting notes, choose student supports, define team roles and responsibilities, support participation of nonverbal students, presume competence, and more.

Click here to watch a recording of Dr. Causton's webinar, "The Role of the Paraprofessional in the Inclusive Class"

Download a free and printable 'OT job description' poster for your office or classroom


Review by: Christie Kiley, MA, OTR/L,

"The Occupational Therapist's Handbook for Inclusive School Practices has transformed the way I think about my school-based practice. If I could only recommend one book on school-based occupational therapy, this would be the one! The OT's Handbook does a stellar job at defining technical terms, policies, and acronyms related to Special Education, detailing the vast role that OTs play within the educational setting, and sharing specific strategies, accommodations/modifications, and services occupational therapy practitioners can provide to support students' needs and educational progress in the Least Restrictive Environment. This is a perfect resource for new practitioners and fieldwork students, as well as a practical refresher for those who are veterans. The combination of facts and creative ideas makes this a refreshing read for anyone looking to boost their effectiveness as a school-based OT practitioner. I don't think I can emphasize enough how practical and empowering this book is!
As a school-based occupational therapist, I appreciated the fact that this book addresses the issue of caseload versus workload and advocates for a shift in mindset so OTs can support students and their teachers along a true continuum of services. Occupational therapy practitioners have such powerful tools and strategies to offer students, teachers, and educational staff, and we need to be integrated into the bigger picture. This book introduces readers to how to do just that!"
Click here for full review

Review by: Joleen Thomas
“What I loved about this book is that it reinforced what I had always thought about inclusion, but have had trouble conveying to other team members- that we as educators should always presume competence on behalf of our students, and learn to adapt OUR approaches so that their learning can take place in the most natural setting and least restrictive environment.”
Review by: Anne Zachry, Assistant Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, University of Tennessee Health Science Center
“This is a comprehensive and informative resource for all occupational therapists who work in the school system. With a focus on inclusive practices, this book includes chapters on special education, collaboration, and the use of social, environmental and academic supports. As an OT with 24 years experience working in the schools, I highly recommend this guidebook to all occupational therapy students, new graduates and seasoned therapists who strive to promote the best practice of occupational therapy in educational settings.”
Review by: Lisa Crabtree, Graduate Faculty, Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy & Occupational Science, Towson University
“Provide[s] detailed strategies that foster inclusive practices and collaborative relationships. This book is an important resource for occupational therapy practitioners on school-based teams who are implementing inclusive best practices.”
Review by: Dr. Richard Villa, President, Bayridge Consortium, Inc., San Diego, CA
“Examines the context and rationale for providing related services in an inclusive school, clarifies roles and responsibilities of team members, and provides practical how-to strategies and examples of the delivery of occupational therapy services in an inclusive school.”
Review by: Dr. Jacqueline Thousand, Professor, School of Education, College of Education, Health, and Human Services, California State University San Marcos
“This highly readable book gives occupational therapists the tools to be powerful team members in advancing inclusive education opportunities for students with and without disabilities.”

Table of Contents

About the Forms
About the Authors
Foreword: Norman Kunc
Foreword: Jane Case-Smith
  1. The Occupational Therapist
  2. Special Education
  3. Inclusive Education
  4. Collaborating with Others: Working within a Team
  5. Rethinking Students: Presuming Competence
  6. Providing Social Supports: Standing Back
  7. Providing Academic Supports
    Appendix: Useful Web Sites and Resources for Assistive Technology
  8. Providing Behavioral Supports
  9. Supporting You, Supporting Them: Caring for Yourself
    Appendix: Book Club Books, Articles, and Self-Care Books

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