Use of the “WFOT Position Statement: Occupational Therapy Services in School-based Practice for Children and Youth (2016)” in the Australian Context
The World Federation of Occupational Therapy (WFOT) has a position statement on the contribution of occupational therapy in supporting children and young people in school-based practice. It can be downloaded from the WFOT website here.
The WFOT position statement provides a foundation for promoting and facilitating occupational therapy services in school-based practice in Australia. The WFOT Position Statement should be read in conjunction with the below information, which contextualises the statement for use in Australia.
Use of the position statement
The intended audience for this document includes occupational therapists, education staff and leaders, parents, clients, governments, policy makers, universities and researchers.
To promote a unified, national, shared vision across Australian states and territories
To support best practice and multi-tiered service provision in school-based practice
To promote the role of occupational therapists in school-based practice
To aid collaboration between education staff and occupational therapists
The Australian Context
Australian legislation relevant to school-based services
Legislation specific to Australia includes the Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and the Disability Standards for Education (2005). This legislation recognises each individual’s unique characteristics, interests, strengths and needs in learning and therefore requires Australian education systems to respond to diversity and enable access and opportunities for all children. In Australia, collaboration with educators is not legislated, but is recognised as best practice.
Australian education system
School-based occupational therapy is provided in government, independent, specialist and alternative settings, inclusive of childcare, preschool, primary schools and secondary schools. Differences occur across states and territories in Australia regarding eligible school ages and year levels within the schools.
Australian funding system
Funding for occupational therapy in schools varies across Australian states and territories and in accordance with different funding bodies. This statement is applicable in all funding systems where school-based occupational therapy services are provided.
Eligibility for school-based occupational therapy services
School-based occupational therapy services are relevant to all children with education support needs.