The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), Bethesda, Md—in coordination with he Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Children’s Law Center of the University of Richmond School of Law, Disability Law & Advocacy Center of Tennessee, Easter Seals of Northern Ohio Inc,, and Parents for Autistic Children’s Education—has submitted an amici brief and respondent’s brief about the right of a child with autism to receive occupational therapy services in a public school system, in support of Jacob Winkelman et al versus Parma City School District. asking for US Supreme Court review.

A team of attorneys at Troutman Sanders LLP wrote the briefs, which were submitted on May 29, on behalf of the amici.

The Court deliberates over the summer about which cases it will hear in the October session.

“This is an opportunity to bring attention to the appropriate use of occupational therapy services in schools and as an intervention for children with autism,” says Christina A. Metzler, chief public affairs officer at AOTA. “The American Occupational Therapy Association is extremely supportive of the Supreme Court taking on the issues raised by this case.”

The case addresses the school district’s provision of occupational therapy to the student, Jacob Winkelman, and how an individualized education program (IEP) can be interpreted, says AOTA. The Court’s decision in this case will impact how a free and appropriate education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is determined and implemented, according to AOTA. Occupational therapy services for students with special needs are determined through the IEP process.

OTs can help students succeed in academic performance and social participation and are an important member of an education team that includes educators, school counselors, and other specialized instructional support personnel, says AOTA. OTs assess students to determine their abilities, strengths, and needs and collaborate with other members of the education team to identify a student’s annual measurable goals. They support the development of the IEP by helping to determine the services, supports, modifications, and accommodations that are necessary for the student to achieve these goals, according to AOTA.

[Source: AOTA]