At Perkins, occupational therapy evaluations assess various areas of a student’s development as they relate to participation in daily routines and educational activities. These assessments take a holistic approach with a specific emphasis on the unique needs of students with visual impairment and/or deafblindness. Based on the individual needs of each student, assessment areas may include: cognitive-perceptual skills; sensory functions; gross, fine, and visual motor skills; executive functioning; classroom participation; and self-care/independent living skills. Cognitive-perceptual skills refer to the thinking processes of receiving, interpreting, and organizing stimuli to determine a response. Sensory functions involve use of vision, hearing, touch, smell, taste, vestibular (i.e., movement and balance information received from receptors in the inner ear), and proprioception (i.e., body position information received from receptors in the joints and muscles). An occupational therapist evaluates a student’s ability to process input from all of these sensory systems in order to maintain a calm, regulated, and alert state for learning and participation in activities. Executive functioning involves mental skills such as memory, flexible thinking, and self-control. Based on evaluation findings, student-specific recommendations are made to maximize independence. In addition, the occupational therapist may make recommendations regarding modifications to materials, equipment, and the environment to further maximize independence.
Assessment procedures may include record review, standardized tests, rating scales/questionnaires, informal assessment activities/observations, and interviews. Assessment procedures are determined on an individual basis taking into consideration the student’s abilities and the referral questions and concerns.