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The Role of Speech Therapy and Occupational Therapy in Mainstream Education

Updated: Dec 11, 2018

Many people assume that speech and occupational therapy are only beneficial for students in special needs schools, but therapy can be a great academic support system for all types of students, even those in mainstream education.

All students will find areas of academic life more challenging than others, and the range and extent of this is unique to every student.

The role of therapy services within schools is to provide the opportunity to observe any difficulties students may demonstrate during their regular school activities. In this context a student’s progress can be monitored in literacy, language development, hearing ability, writing skill, sensory processing and more. Therapy within education can be seen as a form of academic support strategy, allowing each and every student to flourish and fulfill their potential.

This insight into how students are developing during their education allows qualified occupational and speech therapists to provide tailored support, providing a support system that will help students flourish during the remainder of their education and later life.

Speech therapy in school observes the progress and development of a student’s communicative abilities. Communication is a fundamental life skill, and if a student’s communication is impaired in some way, they may face difficulties both in and outside of the classroom. For example, speech therapy assists with stuttering, which can appear during childhood. Support for stuttering is more effective at a younger age, and if unsupported can persist into adulthood, so it is important that it is spotted quickly.

Occupational therapy focuses on working with students, their educators and their families to promote ease and success in a student’s school activities. These activities, among others involve usage of students’ cognition, attention, writing and speaking abilities. Not only does occupational therapy allow students to develop their abilities within their school work, but it also helps young people to develop key skills that are beneficial for activities of daily living, such as eating independently or buttoning their shirt.

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