Occupational Therapy (OT): OT CASELOAD LIMIT

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Cher:  I am a new OT and have been assigned a caseload that is well over the recommended FTE hours. I am being asked to serve 9 schools in a week, supervise a COTA and cover a total of 176 students. What are my rights in requesting a manageable caseload to ensure I am provide ethical intervention for my students?

  1. Hello, I’m in a similar situation with 98 students and growing. Servicing 8 schools and no COTA or assistance of any kind.

  2. Also, if you belong to a union, take full advantage of that membership. Unions have legal experts and will help a member file a grievance, go along to meetings, etc.

  3. You have 176 students in 9 schools and you supervise OT assistants! No way you can provide the services your students need and no way you can provide the services in their IEPs.

    Suggest you download and print the Code of Ethics for Occupational Therapists: https://www.aota.org/-/media/corporate/files/practice/ethics/code-of-ethics.pdf

    Study it. Make notes. Use a highlighter. Look for statements or ethical principles that support the position that one OT cannot provide appropriate services to 176 students. If these students do not receive appropriate services that meet their needs, the school district has failed to provide them with a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). This is illegal and is grossly unfair to them, since they can’t move on. It’s unfair to you, although you can move on, as many school-based PTs and OTs do.

    Write a letter to your supervisor with a copy to special ed director. Describe real situations when you were unable to meet your students’ needs and how this puts you in a serious ethical bind. What does your sup. suggest that you do? Read our article, “Writing a Letter to the Stranger,” to see how to structure this type of letter:

    Your goal is to use facts, not emotions, to make your case. Attach a copy of your Code of Ethics to your letter with your key points highlighted.

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