In the school settings therapists help students with mental or physical or both disabilities and assist them to maximise their skills and abilities to face the 'job of living'. It is important to know how OT can support the children with additional needs and how much support and intervention is necessary. It will also probe the need of customized treatment programmes to improve the abilities, necessity of home/job adaptation and evaluation combined with recommendations, assessment of performance skills and treatment, usage training, equipment adaptation and training to family members, carers, parents, sometimes even to teachers and monitor all the above. It is an important part of disability welfare and recurring research in this field is necessary.
The College of Occupational Therapists define it as 'the treatment of physical and psychiatric conditions through specific activities in order to help people reach their maximum level of function and independence in all aspects of daily life'. Report (1990, p.14).
"This occupational therapist is now a trained specialist who, through a study of particular aspects of certain sciences, and of practical methods of ability assessment, together with an analysis of the elements of a number of activities and of their value in rehabilitation, guides, under the prescription of the doctor, the occupational treatment of the patients referred to her," Macdonald (1977, p.2).
ROLE OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST IN SCHOOL SETTING
Occupational therapist can provide a specialised work of prime importance at school by being a warm, receptive person who has an answer to most of the children's problems and show a real understanding of their issues. He could work with subnormal and severely subnormal children, children with brain damage, psychotic children, emotionally disturbed children and emotionally disturbed adolescents. He could imbibe development of play, manual dexterity, sensory perceptions and response to stimuli in his initial training. He can also help in developing abstract through process including concentration, observation, memorisation, using imagination, drawing conclusions and reasonable decision making, self-help and self-expression etc. He can conduct group treatment with psychotic children with facilities of a work or teaching area, a section for messy activities, a quiet room where a child could be given a much closer affection and he would need the understanding and help of school authorities.
Prelliwiz (2006) conducted a research on children and arrived at the conclusion that disabled children who are happy in home environment, do not perceive outside environment as friendly or accessible. Sometimes they feel marginalised, threatened; but in their own private environment, they felt secure. "In conclusion the results of this study underscore the challenges of ensuring that children with restricted mobility living in the parental home are able to have an accessible environment and to function independently in their homes. Ergonomic adaptations in the home should support these kinds of activities as the children's needs change with age and interests". This also means that the home atmosphere, to a very large extent, could be created in school too, where the disabled could have a private space and this would definitely increase the attraction of the school in their minds.
Sensory integration is