Where should I have my Occupational Therapy sessions? At home, in school or in an equipped sensorimotor gym?

Published on 13th February, 2024

Where should I have my Occupational Therapy sessions? At home, in school or in an equipped sensorimotor gym?

The choice between occupational therapy in a sensory motor gym and at home depends on various factors, including the individual's specific needs, goals, and preferences. Both settings have their advantages and may be suitable in different situations. Here are some considerations for each:

Occupational Therapy in a Sensory Motor Gym:

  1. Specialized Equipment:

Sensory motor gyms often have specialized equipment designed to address specific sensory and motor challenges. This can provide a wide range of activities and exercises to target various therapeutic goals.

  1. Professional Guidance:

Therapists in a sensory motor gym may have access to a variety of resources and tools, allowing them to create tailored programs for individuals. The professional guidance in this setting can be beneficial for more structured interventions.

  1. Structured Environment:

Clinic settings offer a structured and controlled environment, which can be beneficial for individuals who require a more focused and controlled space for therapy. This setting allows therapists to create and implement specific treatment plans.

  1. Professional Expertise:

Clinic-based occupational therapists are typically highly trained professionals with expertise in various therapeutic techniques. They can provide specialized assessments and interventions based on the individual's needs, ensuring a comprehensive approach to rehabilitation.

  1. Collaboration with Other Professionals:

Many clinics have a multidisciplinary approach, allowing occupational therapists to collaborate with other healthcare professionals, such as physical therapists, speech therapists, and psychologists. This collaboration enhances the overall care and addresses multiple aspects of a person's health.

  1. Consistent and Regular Sessions:

In a clinic setting, individuals can have consistent and regular therapy sessions, which is essential for progress. The scheduled appointments help maintain continuity in the therapeutic process, allowing for ongoing assessment and adjustment of treatment plans.

  1. Peer Interaction and Social Skills:

Some clinic-based occupational therapy programs may offer opportunities for peer interaction. Group therapy sessions or shared spaces with other individuals receiving therapy can provide a social component to the rehabilitation process, promoting a sense of community and support.

  1. Specialized Programs:

Clinics may offer specialized programs for specific populations, such as pediatric or geriatric occupational therapy. These programs are tailored to the unique needs and challenges of different age groups.

  1. Parent and Caregiver Involvement:

For pediatric occupational therapy, clinics often encourage active involvement of parents and caregivers. They may provide education and training to help families support the therapy goals at home, creating a holistic approach to intervention.

  1. Assessment Facilities:

Clinic settings typically have access to comprehensive assessment tools and facilities, allowing therapists to conduct thorough evaluations of an individual's abilities, limitations, and progress over time.

  1. Transition to Independence:

Clinic-based occupational therapy can focus on developing skills that enable individuals to transition to greater independence. This may include activities of daily living, vocational training, and community integration.

  1. Individualized Approach:

The effectiveness of OT is highly individualized, and what works best for one person may not be the same for another. Personal preferences, the nature of the condition being treated, and the goals of therapy play significant roles in determining the most effective setting.

  1. Client-Centered Care:

Occupational therapy emphasizes a client-centered approach, meaning that the intervention should be tailored to the individual's unique needs and goals. The effectiveness of OT is often associated with the ability to address the specific challenges and promote meaningful participation in daily activities.

  1. Sensory Integration Requires a Sensory Motor Gym

Classic intervention is provided in a specialized therapy room with sensory equipment that provides tactile, visual, proprioceptive and vestibular opportunities in a structured manner in collaboration with the primary caregivers. According to an ecidenced based approach, Ayres Sensory Integration is implemented by therapists with specialized training, most often occupational therapists and takes place in specially designed clinical settings that offer a safe and sensory-rich experience.

While clinic-based OT has its advantages, it's essential to recognize that the choice between settings depends on various factors, and research often supports a range of approaches.

Occupational Therapy at Home:

  1. Contextual Relevance:

Home-based therapy allows the therapist to work directly in the individual's natural environment. This can be advantageous for addressing specific challenges or goals related to daily activities and routines.

  1. Family Involvement:

In a home setting, family members can actively participate in therapy sessions, facilitating better integration of strategies and interventions into the individual's daily life.

  1. Real-life Application:

Therapy at home allows for the direct application of skills to the individual's real-life situations, promoting a more seamless transition from therapy to daily activities.

  1. Convenience:

Home-based therapy can be more convenient for individuals and families who may face challenges in traveling to a sensory motor gym regularly.

  1. A Sensory Lifestyle Can Be Implented:

Unless the hom has a sensory motor gym, sensory strategies can be impleted (sensory integration therapy can only be done in a sensory motor gym). Because therapists may only see a child an hour or two a week, SI therapy needs to be carried over into the home and in school in what’s most often called a “sensory diet.” Adaptations to make the home more “sensory smart.”

Occupational Therapy at School:

  1. School-Based Occupational Therapists (OTs):

Many schools have dedicated occupational therapists on staff or access to OT services through partnerships with external providers. These professionals work within the school environment to address the specific needs of students.

  1. Fine Motor Skills:

Occupational therapists in schools often focus on developing fine motor skills, which are crucial for tasks such as writing, using scissors, and manipulating small objects. They may provide interventions to improve hand-eye coordination, handwriting, and other fine motor abilities.

  1. Self-Care Skills:

Some students may require support in developing or improving self-care skills, such as dressing, grooming, and feeding. Occupational therapists can work with these students to enhance their independence in daily activities.

  1. Environmental Modifications:

OTs may recommend modifications to the classroom environment to create a more inclusive and supportive space for students with diverse needs. This could include adjustments to seating arrangements, lighting, or the availability of sensory tools.

  1. Collaboration with Teachers and Parents:

Effective collaboration with teachers and parents is crucial for the success of occupational therapy in schools. OTs work closely with educators to integrate therapy goals into the classroom and provide recommendations for adaptations. They also communicate regularly with parents to ensure consistency between home and school environments.

  1. A Sensory Lifestyle Can Be Implented:

Unless the school has a sensory motor gym, sensory strategies can be impleted and adaptations can be made to the environment in school (sensory integration therapy can only be done in a sensory motor gym).

Occupational therapy at school aims to enhance the overall academic and social participation of students by addressing their unique needs.


Ultimately, the choice between a sensory motor gym and home/school-based occupational therapy should be made based on a comprehensive assessment of the individual's needs and goals, as well as considerations of available resources and preferences. In some cases, a combination of multiple settings might be appropriate, with therapy transitioning from a more structured environment to the home as skills progress. It's important to work closely with the occupational therapist to determine the most suitable approach for the individual in question.