Occupational Therapy (OT)

October is OT month in Canada. To celebrate OT month we thought we would share a little about what OT services look like in Hanover School Division and the faces behind the OT’s.

What is OT?

Occupational therapy (OT) is a health service that works with individuals and communities to help people participate in meaningful activities (occupations) of their everyday life.

What does an OT do in the school setting?

For children and youth in schools, occupational therapy works to ensure that a student can participate fully in school activities. Some areas they support students with include: Motor Development, Independence with Self-Care Skills, School Accessibility, Sensory Processing, Self-Regulation, Life Skills, Social Skills, Student Skills, and Technology Use.

Who are the HSD OT’s?

Kyla Hildebrandt

Ms. Kyla has been an OT for over a decade. She has worked for Hanover School Division for the last 6 years. Before that, she worked for Southern Health and Alberta Health Services- Children’s Rehab Services. She loves working with kids! Her favorite thing about being an occupational therapist is watching kids experience success; their expression when they experience that “aha” moment, and celebrating with them when they reach a new milestone. In her free time, she can be found watching her kids play hockey and ringette at the rink, or dance in Winnipeg.

Kellie Heintz

Ms. Kellie has been an OT with Hanover School Division for 8 years. Prior to Hanover School Division Kellie worked 2 years in the Community Mental Health Sector. Kellie has a strong interest in paediatric mental health and the well being of students in Hanover School Division. She enjoys working collaboratively with students, families, allied health members, and school team members to ensure students’ goals are identified and met. Outside of work, you can find Kellie working with her husband at their family store, gardening or playing with their dog (Charlie).

Jaelyn Froese

Ms. Jaelyn or “Ms. J” has a variety of work and volunteer experiences working with children of all ages and abilities, including working in an outpatient setting, various sectors within the school system as well as the facilitation of summer camps. It is through various work experiences and her love for working with children, that Jaelyn has developed a strong interest in working as an Occupational Therapist in the school setting. She is passionate about helping individuals, families and school teams work towards their identified goals. Outside of work, Jaelyn enjoys being a mom to her three children, spending time outside and going to the cabin!

Thalin Dyck

Ms. Thalin is in her second school year working in the Hanover School Division. She enjoys the interdisciplinary nature of being a school clinician, being able to bounce ideas off of different team members and working with families to find what will work best for each student. Her passion lies in helping students be the best they can be, regardless of the disabilities or barriers they experience.

Melissa Neufeld

Ms. Melissa is in her first year of working in the Hanover School and her 6th year as an occupational therapist. Before becoming an OT she was an educational assistant working in a Winnipeg school division. Her favourite thing about working in schools is being able to support students in their learning and make school a fun and meaningful learning experience.

How do you access OT?

OT may be involved in many different ways:

Universal Support

OT will often support your student by providing the teacher with general strategies, tools, or programming that is used in the classroom and integrated into the schedule.

Targeted Support

Whenever possible, OT will often run small groups to help students with similar challenges. These students are usually identified by the teacher. Participation in these groups is optional and a referral or consent letter will always be sent home before your child can attend the group.

Individualized Support

Often students have specific needs that can only be addressed with special programming or supports created by an OT. This specific programming can be provided directly by the OT, through an educational assistant trained by the OT, or by the teacher in consultation with the OT. A formal OT referral is required before receiving individualized OT services, and parents can expect ongoing communication.

Favourite Apps or Websites

Fine Motor Skills
Keyboarding Skills
Gross Motor Skills
Self-Regulation Skills

in: Occupational Therapy