Working as an occupational therapist in publicly funded schools requires a variety of skills. These skills include assessing the needs of children, serving as a member of the multidisciplinary team, developing individualized education program (IEP) goals and objectives in conjunction with other team members, providing services, and coordinating efforts with parents, teachers, and administrators. To fulfill these responsibilities, occupational therapists must have a comprehensive understanding of the complex federal and state laws that mandate the provision of special education and related services. Therefore, the purposes of this article are (a) to describe the legal framework within which decisions are made to provide occupational therapy to students in publicly funded school programs and (b) to highlight the knowledge and skills occupational therapists need to work effectively in schools with teachers, administrators, and parents.

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