The increasing focus on students’ mental health has opened up opportunities to several mental health providers in school- based settings. Due to their training in mental health, sensory processing, and child development, occupational therapists (OTs) can be instrumental in creating prevention and intervention programs for managing school mental health issues and socio-emotional issues. However, due to lack of specification of OTs as mental health service providers under the current NCLB legislature, the scope of OT services in schools continues to be limited. Several advocacy initiatives are needed at the proximal, community, and societal level to include OTs as mental health service providers under the NCLB legislature.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, 2013) report states that nearly 16% children between the ages of 3-17 years have mental health disorders (CDC). The literature on mental health and academic success indic...
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...ver, but they are crucial in setting the pace and nature of the change. The resistance to the change is likely to come from school counselors, ABA therapists, and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. As OTs are hired under the IDEA for servicing children with disabilities, the resistance may also come from special education directors depending upon how the change will influence the availability of OTs for servicing children with disabilities. Similarly, TITLE 1 fund coordinators may also resist the change due to the possibility of the changes in the fund allocation. In addition, at the societal level, the coalition should include a strong base of school occupational therapists, Educator’s Associations, special education teachers’, parent associations and support groups, and school administrators, and OTs and researchers involved in research on school related areas.
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