OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of special education directors on the current role of occupational therapy in high school transition programs for adolescent students with disabilities. Additionally, barriers to providing occupational therapy services and perceptions about new occupational therapy services were examined.
METHOD. A mailed questionnaire was administered to all special education directors in a rural state in the United States. One hundred and four (57.5%) responses were received. Descriptive statistics were generated with an emphasis on percentages to examine current occupational therapy services in high school transition programs and barriers to service delivery.
RESULTS. In this study, occupational therapists provided less than one fifth of transition services in high schools for students with disabilities. They provided more assistive technology consults (30.3%), task or environmental modification (25.8%), and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) planning (20%) than other providers. Barriers to occupational therapy use included funding, lack of interagency planning, and lack of parent participation. About 35% of special education directors suggested that additional occupational therapy services were needed for adolescents with cognitive disabilities and for job performance and related work skills programming.
CONCLUSION. Occupational therapists in this study provided ancillary services to high school students with disabilities with greater emphasis on technology, task or environmental modification, and IEP or ITP planning, as perceived by special evaluation directors.