301-577-4333 (Lanham, MD) | 202-561-1110 (Washington, DC)

What’s the Difference Between School-Based and Clinic-Based Occupational Therapy?

clinic-based occupational therapy

Your child’s school occupational therapist will structure therapy goals around educational goals, while your clinic occupational therapist will structure therapy goals around your child’s physical goals.

While both school-based and clinic-based occupational therapy can benefit your child, they each have their pros and cons. Here is a rundown on what exactly occupational therapy is and the real differences between school-based and clinic-based occupational therapy.  

Occupational Therapy 101

Occupational therapy is essentially when a specially-trained therapist teaches someone of any age how to do the things that they need and want to do through everyday activities. Occupational therapy aims to help your child acclimate to a wide variety of environments from home, to school, to work, and to the community at large. Many people confuse occupational therapy with vocational training or job training, but they are two different things.

What Does Occupational Therapy Involve?

Children have many different things that they need to learn how to do to take care of themselves and the world around them, including the following:

  • Socialize with others
  • Eat independently
  • Play
  • Take care of dressing themselves
  • Self-care tasks like regulating emotions
  • Paying attention
  • Following directions
  • Interacting appropriately with others
  • Hold a pencil
  • Read, write
  • And many more

So, How Are School-Based and Clinic-Based Occupational Therapy Different?

Both types of occupational therapy use different models as their basis. School-based occupational therapy typically uses an educational model that is aimed at education and academic performance. The school-based model follows the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. School-based occupational therapy typically begins with a student being identified by their teacher or parent and requesting an IEP. The IEP team will determine whether or not the child should be tested, what areas should be tested, and how to proceed.

Clinic-based occupational therapy follows a medical model that begins with a diagnosis and a doctor’s referral. Clinic-based occupational therapy is also typically covered by insurance. They will create a plan full of interventions to address the areas that the child has difficulty in and reach in and out of the classroom. The goal of clinic-based occupational therapy is to have your child functioning well in all environments.

The Connections Therapy Center

The Connections Therapy Center serves families of children and adolescents with disabilities and special needs. We are a team of experts in the fields of pediatric speech, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and behavioral sciences. As a team, we offer intensive hands-on therapy for children and adolescents, as well as informative and useful resources for families. If you are interested in learning more about what we can do to help your family, visit us online or give us a call at (202) 561-1110 (Washington, D.C. office) or (301) 577-4333 (Lanham office). Want to get more information on how to help your child thrive? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and Pinterest.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 27th, 2017 at 10:07 am . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Connections Therapy Center

MD Location

  • 4451 Parliament Place, Suite A
    Lanham, MD 20706
  • 301-577-4333
  • 301-577-5180

DC Location

  • 3849 Alabama Avenue, S.E.
    Washington, DC 20020
  • 202-561-1110
  • 301-577-5180

Contact Us Today




Connections Therapy Center
4451 Parliament Place, Suite A Lanham, Maryland 20706
Phone: 301-577-4333