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What is the difference between school-based and clinic-based services?

What is the difference between school-based and clinic-based services?

Published: Mar. 14, 2022Updated: Mar. 17, 2022

The focus of school-based services is on the child’s ability to access their education, both in terms of curriculum and environment. Can they physically access the classroom, playground, and bathroom safely? Can they hold a pencil, write, stay seated in their chair, and participate in lessons? Every skill they will need to succeed is evaluated and treated through the lens of education. Therapists work as part of the child’s care team alongside the teacher and other service providers on developing and implementing the child’s IEP. Documentation is related to the child’s IEP rather than insurance requirements, and uses educational terminology.

Clinics look more closely at how the child’s disability impacts areas of daily living — such as feeding, dressing, sound production, sensory processing, general strengthening, fine and gross motor skills, and balance and coordination. Clinical services look at “not just the child’s role as a student, but their role in home and community environments,” explains Amanda Prine, OTR/L, an occupational therapist who currently works for a school district but has worked in private clinics. Clinical therapists are the direct provider. Documentation is often dictated by setting and insurance guidelines/requirements, and uses more medical terminology.

For more, see our article School-Based Vs. Clinic-Based Services.

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