How Do I Get My Son's School To Give Him Occupational Therapy?

by Lynn Grodi

My name is Lynn Grodi. My son's name is Alex. We live in Kentucky. My son was getting Occupational Therapy during the summer. When his school started, the O.T. released him so he could get O.T. at his school. Alex's school has done all of the testing and evaluations but I haven't heard anything from them. The first 9 weeks is coming to a close and he still hasn't received any Occupational Therapy from his school. I have called them several times and no one has returned my phone calls. I think they are not going to give him the O.T. he needs, why else haven't they returned my calls?

I need some advice as to what to do. I have called the school counselor and school O.T. with no results. I don't know who else to call. Any information would be helpful. Thanks!!!

The SPD Help Line Answers...

Hi Lynn,

Oh, I am so sorry you are going through all of this! It looks like you may indeed have a battle ahead of you. That's the bad news. The good news? They are responsible by law to follow up on this with you. Not calling you back, so many of them? That is just irresponsible, unprofessional, and "unethical". I know people are busy, especially teachers, administrators, OT's, school personnel,(I was one!) etc., especially the first couple months in the fall, but a return call to say something, anything about where things stand is well overdue. This is not acceptable. And they must be accountable for their actions, or lack there of.

So, here is what I suggest... leave a message with the OT, the head of special education, and the school administrator of what has been done, what you are waiting for, dates, specifics, etc. and let them know they have 5 days to call you back and resolve this or you will be taking further action. Now, that could mean anything from getting an advocate to help you, a lawyer, or anything in between. Make sure you document everything (dates, times, calls, who you spoke to, what they said, etc.)

Meanwhile, or before that phone call, familiarize yourself with the laws, your rights and resposibilities and theirs. You can find information on these things at the following links:

OK, here are the links that should help you...

Kentucky SPD Parent SHARE Hosts:
Jennifer Edwards of Henderson, KY and Tracy Gingras of Bowling Green, KY.

How To Get The Services You Need At School - great tutorials, links and information based on special education laws. - your source for special education and advocacy laws.

Another great advocacy and special education resource?

Above all... don't give up!!! OK? Your son deserves these services and has a right to them.

Oh, one last thought? I don't really know why your current OT dismissed him before having his school OT start. I wonder how they made that decision. So... I would call them too and ask if Alex can come back until the school situation is resolved. If he needs OT, he needs OT, right?

Are you noticing any "regression"? What specifically was the past OT working on with him? What will they be focusing on at school? You do know that the school will not usually address the SPD per se, right? They will only address it as it impacts his education, not usually a whole body SI therapy approach. It depends on how SPD is affecting him as to whether school OT would be enough for him, but I assume that would be if your past OT ended his therapy to replace it with therapy through the school? All questions to ask your past OT, if you haven't already. And I would love to know the answers too. I'm concerned about the break in services.
If he is not "losing skills" then the break could be ok. Depends where he is at... you know him best.

I hope this helps! Let us know what you find out or how this gets resolved, ok?

Is anyone else a school OT, advocate, or part of a special education department that is reading this? Can you help us understand what might be happening to Lynn and what she should do about it?

Take care.
Michele Mitchell

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Oct 11, 2007
Move-Up Plan important
by: Anonymous

Call the head of the OT department, head of the Special Ed department and the teacher's supervisor. There is no reason for them NOT to call you back and if they did the testing in a timely manner they are against the law in not providing him services if he tested for OT.

My other question is...since he was in summer school and had OT why did they test him again? Did they not have a plan in place when he left for the summer?

My son already had his "move-up" plan in place so there was no break in services. If they needed to reassess then they would do so but otherwise everything was ready to go on day one.

Oct 11, 2007
by: Lynn Grodi

Later the same day I wrote my letter to you, I received a letter from Alex's school. They have scheduled a meeting with me for October 24th. They are going to discuss the needs of Alex with me. In the letter it states that the purpose of this conference is to develop, review, and/or revise the student's IEP and make placement decisions and to review evaluation results.

The people that will be attending the meeting is his regular education teacher, speech and language pathologist, occupational therapist, principal, special education teacher, educational diagnostician, behavior consultant, and of course, me! I am very excited about this meeting. It is finally happening, so much time went by, not hearing anything from anybody. I thought they weren't going to do anything. I guess I was wrong.

The O.T. released Alex from services because she said that he met his goals. He has improved significantly. He can tolerate to wear blue jeans without rolling up his pant legs now, but personnally I still feel that he has a long way to go yet. He still has drooling problems and some touch issues. He does not like for anyone to sit close to him or brush up against him, particularly at school. He always wants to be the first one in line. He still has problems with certain types of clothing that irritate him.

His O.T. told me when school started it was their job to give him occupational therapy. I didn't know so I just took her advise. I still do the brushing and exercises at home with him that his former O.T. taught me, but I just don't know if this is enough or not.

I guess I will wait and see what becomes of the meeting I'm having at his school. His O.T. did write a letter to his school stating Alex's progress and what he still needs to work on. Hopefully, I will get some good news from the school. I will let you know what happens at the meeting on October 24th.

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