Advanced Professional Certification in School-Based Practice

This asynchronous, online certificate is for practicing school therapists with an interest in:

  • expanding their knowledge in applicable special education law
  • best practices in evaluation and intervention, including systems approaches, translation and application of available evidence to their current practice
  • participation in an online community of learners

Tufts Occupational Therapy graduate students who are interested in school-based practice certificate are encouraged to discuss the application process with the certificate coordinator.

Program Requirements and Policies

  • This certificate consists of three courses; this certificate program begins in the January 2020 semester.
  • Participants will take one course each in spring, summer 1 session, and fall semester. 

Course Requirements & Curriculum

Spring semester (January-May): Participants enroll in

OTS 284: Therapy in Schools: Best Practices. The provision of school services to support the child with specialized learning needs is governed by federal and state legislation. This course will focus on ‘big picture’ issues related to educationally relevant service provision in light of current legislation as well as the practical application of providing educationally relevant occupational therapy services. Topics include pertinent legislation, systems considerations, the Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) process and eligibility, models of service provision, evaluation and intervention. The course will examine the evidence base for strategies for supporting children in the educational process using the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) mandate. This course is a prerequisite for OTS 285, another required course in the certificate program.

Summer semester 1 (May-June): Participants enroll in EITHER OTS 193 OR OTS 194:

OTS 193 Autism: Working with Children with Autism: Facilitating Social and Educational Participation. In this course, students will gain knowledge in understanding current research on etiology theories and neurobiological basis of autism, understand core features in impairment in communication, social skills, and emotional regulation, understand occupational impacts for the child and the family, and gain knowledge in evidence-based interventions. We will pursue knowledge through two parallel lines of inquiry. Students will become immersed in a case- based assignment, identify an area of interest related to the case, evaluate evidence related to the case, design and create intervention tools, and produce and upload a final presentation. A second line of inquiry will broaden our lens as we examine the history of autism as a diagnosis and hopefully challenge, broaden, and refine our lens relative to this population as we work with and for children and adolescents with autism and their families.

OTS 194 Working with Children with Self-Regulation Issues in Schools. This course will discuss the foundations of self-regulation for children and adolescents, including sensory, attentional, emotional, and behavioral aspects. We will discuss methods for evaluation and intervention in these areas, as well as applications and implementation of strategies within the educational model of school-based services.

Either course is a pre-requisite for OTS 285. Pick only one.

Fall semester (September-December): Participants enroll in:

OTS 285: Mentored Seminar in School-based Practice. The Mentored Seminar in School-based Practice allows a student to pursue a work leadership project with mentorship from university faculty with content expertise. This faculty -guided, applied experience will focus on student-identified work-related area for potential change. Students, under the mentorship of the certificate program faculty, will survey the research literature, develop an action plan for change, and plans for implementation. Examples of topics: how to provide educationally-relevant services; how to provide collaborative consultation with your inter-professional team; how to move to increased services within the classroom; how to develop integrated goals; how to support UDL or MTSS. Topic should be of specific interest to the student; plan created should be based on available evidence and realistic in terms of implementation.