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North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

Exceptional Children Division

Instructional Support & Related Services Section

Lauren Holahan, MS, OT/L

State Occupational Therapy Consultant

Contact Info:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
School of Medicine, Dept. of Allied Health Sciences
Division of Occupational Science
Ste. 2050 Bondurant Hall, CB #7122  

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7122 
Phone: (919) 843-4466
Email: lauren_holahan@med.unc.edu


In a school setting, occupational therapy is provided to enable an identified student with disabilities to engage in meaningful and/or necessary occupations that allow participation in the student's educational program.  IDEA 2004 and state special education laws mandate the provision of occupational therapy services if needed for student to access and benefit from educational programs in the least restrictive environment.  Occupational therapy is a student-centered service provided by licensed occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants. 

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2009 Summer Staff Development Opportunties

Be sure to scroll to the bottom of this page to see all the course offerings and registration details !!

Embedded Intervention

6 contact-hour session (9am-4pm= 0.6 CEUs)*

The daily routines and activities of school provide the most appropriate opportunities for children to learn and develop. Traditional models of service delivery have focused much attention on the pull-out model to address individualized education plan (IEP) goals. However, research suggests that goals which are embedded into regular classroom routines and activities produce more positive child outcomes and improve communication between the classroom staff and itinerant/related service providers. When IEP goals are developed around the natural routines and activities of the classroom and home, goals may be implemented more frequently and by all professionals who serve the child.

This one-day course focuses on practical strategies to embed intervention and integrate school-based therapy for students with disabilities. The content of the session will reflect evidence based research that addresses the individual needs of children with disabilities within the daily routines and activities at school.

In preparation, participants are encouraged to:
1) Review DPI IEP Training Module 3 at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/ec/policy/presentations/

2) Review the NC Standard Course of Study, especially Healthful Living and Guidance Curriculum at:



3) Review Preschool Foundations – Early Learning Standards


Monday, July 27, 2009 -sponsored by Guilford County Schools
Virginia Dare Room of the UNC Greensboro Alumni House
Corner of Spring Garden and College Ave., 404 College Ave., Greensboro, NC, 27412

Google Map Here
Park in the Oakland Parking Deck at the corner of Forest and Spring Garden and walk one block to the right then turn on College

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 - sponsored by Elizabeth City/Pasquotank Schools
College of the Albemarle, Foreman Tech Center (bottom floor)
1208 North Road Street
Elizabeth City

Google Map Here

Thursday, August 6, 2009 - sponsored by Asheville City Schools

Asheville City Schools Central Office

85 Mountain St., Asheville, NC

Google Map Here

Developing Integrated IEPs

3 contact-hour session (9am-12pm= 0.3 CEUs)*

This course is being offered in response to ongoing inquiry and need for guidance in:
· developing integrated IEPs
· writing measurable annual goals
· identifying supplementary aids and services
· writing a related service support description
· determining least restrictive environment for services
· reporting progress

In preparation, participants are encouraged to:
1) review DPI IEP Training Modules 10, 11, and 12 at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/ec/policy/presentations/
2) FAX examples of current IEP goals developed by participants to (919)966-9007 - all personally identifiable information on all transmitted documents MUST be redacted prior to sending; some examples of present level of academic and functional performance and goals will be used for discussion in the sessions

Wednesday, July 29, 2009
- sponsored by Edgecombe County Schools
Edgecombe County Schools Board Room
412 Pearl St.
Tarboro, NC 27886 +

Google Map Here

Friday, August 8, 2009 - sponsored by Asheville City Schools

Asheville City Schools Central Office
85 Mountain St., Asheville, NC

Google Map Here

To register for any of the above sessions:
Please send one e-mail for each session you wish to attend to:


In the subject line put _your_ name, location and date.

For example: Perry Flynn, ASHEVILLE, 8-8

Please put only one person's name per e-mail subject line.
You will immediately receive an automatic e-mail confirmation.
There is no cost for this training and CEU credit will be provided.

New Therapist Boot Camp

6 contact-hour session (9am-4pm= 0.6 CEUs)

New graduates, contract therapists, experienced therapists transitioning to work in public schools for the first time, and therapists and therapy students considering employment in school-based practice are encouraged to attend the one-day (6 contact hours; .6CEU) workshop.  Course content will cover school-based evaluation, intervention, policy, ethics, and documentation.  An agenda follows this memo.

August 24, 2009 – REGIONS 5-8                     

Caldwell County Board of Education - Large Conference Room

1914 Hickory Blvd SW                                       

Lenoir, NC 28645                                                  

(828) 728-8407   

August 28, 2009 – REGIONS 1-4

New Hanover County Board of Education - Board Room

2814 Carolina Beach Rd.

Wilmington NC 28412

(910) 790-5844

To register for Boot Camp:
Please send one e-mail for each session you wish to attend to:


In the subject line put _your_ name, location and date.

For example: Perry Flynn, WILMINGTON, 8-28
Please put only one person's name per e-mail subject line.

There is no cost for this training and CEU credit will be provided.

Question of the Month

Q.  Can you recommend a good OT screening tool?


A.  Honestly, for school-based practice, I’m not sure I can recommend a good occupational therapy screen. 

To be clear, an OT screening is not the same thing as a motor screening, which is required for evaluation in some areas of eligibility for special education (Deaf-Blindness; Deafness; Developmental Delay; Intellectual Disability.)  Specific guidance on motor screenings can be found at Guidance on Motor Screenings

The purpose of an occupational therapy screening, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association Standards of Practice (AOTA, 2005), is “to obtain and review data relevant to a potential client to determine the need for further evaluation and intervention.”  The AOTA Guidelines for Documentation of Occupational Therapy (AOTA,2007) state a screening is “an abbreviated evaluation process [which] documents only limited areas of occupation and occupational performance applicable to the client and to the situation.”

In school practice, the student’s Individual Education Program (IEP) team determines the need for what information it requires to:

  • make an informed decision about the student’s eligibility for special education; and
  • develop a comprehensive, individualized program

After review of existing information, if an IEP team decides an occupational therapy evaluation is needed to help determine eligibility and/or build the IEP, then:

  • the parent must provide consent written (if using NC EC forms, this is captured on the DEC 2, and the team can check any or all of the following for an occupational therapy evaluation:
    • MOTOR
    • OTHER  -  Describe the occupational performance area(s) to be evaluated.  Do not write “OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY EVALUATION”; occupational therapy is not an area of performance.
  • the occupational therapist is notified (often via referral, click here for SAMPLE REFERRAL) the evaluation is conducted
  • the evaluation results are reported to the team


In this process, there should be no “bad” referral, and, therefore, no need for a “screening” by the OT to see if it is, in fact, a “good” referral.   The team is not requesting an OT evaluation to determine if the child needs occupational therapy.  The team is requesting an OT evaluation to contribute to the body of knowledge about the student, in order to determine the need for special education and the content of the IEP.  As such, the need for an OT screening, unless specifically requested by the IEP team, does not appear in the process.


Lauren Holahan, OT Consultant at                     lauren_holahan@med.unc.edu

Have a question?Send an email to lauren_holahan@med.unc.edu


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