Julie Bissell OTD, OTR/L, ATP
Instructor of Clinical Occupational Therapy and Development Officer
Room: CHP 105A
Phone: (323) 442-2149
Julie Bissell has practiced occupational therapy in California public schools for almost 30 years. As a clinical instructor, she currently teaches the Contemporary Issues in School-Based Practice course within the USC Chan Division. Dr. Bissell has co-authored "Sensory-Motor Handbook: A Guide to Implementing and Modifying Activities in the Classroom," the American Occupational Therapy Association's fact sheet on sensory integration and the official AOTA document "Providing Occupational Therapy Using Sensory Integration Theory and Methods in School-Based Practice." She is a former chair of the AOTA Sensory Integration Special Interest Section and she co-chaired the 2010 and 2012 committees to revise the California Department of Education's "Guidelines for Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy in California Public Schools." She is currently a member of the Occupational Therapy Association of California's Ethics, Reimbursement and Practice Committee and she recently co-authored a new handwriting assessment, "Here’s How I Write: A Child’s Self-Assessment of Handwriting and Goal Setting Tool." In 2015, she received the Award of Excellence from the Occupational Therapy Association of California.
Doctorate of Occupational Therapy (OTD)
University of Southern California
Master of Arts (MA) in Occupational Therapy
University of Southern California
Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Physical Education
University of California, Santa Barbara
Goldstand, S., Gevir, D., Cermak, S., & Bissell, J. (2013). Here's How I Write: A Child's Self-assessment of Handwriting and Goal Setting Tool. Framingham, MA: Therapro. Link to full text
Bissell, J., Bohman, S. J., Mailloux, Z., & Test, L. (Eds.) (2012). Guidelines for occupational therapy and physical therapy in California public schools (2nd ed.). Sacramento, CA: California Department of Education.
Bissell, J., Fisher, J., Owens, C., & Polcyn, P. (1998). Sensory motor handbook: A guide for implementing and modifying activities in the classroom (2nd ed.). Torrance, CA: Sensory Integration International.
Bissell, J., Fisher, J., Owens, C., & Polcyn, P. (1988). Sensory motor handbook: A guide for implementing and modifying activities in the classroom. Torrance, CA: Sensory Integration International.
Clark, F., Mailloux, Z., Parham, L. D., & Bissell, J. (1989). Sensory integration and children with learning disabilities. In P. N. Pratt & A. S. Allen (Eds.), Occupational therapy for children (2nd ed.). (pp. 457-509). St. Louis, MO: C. V. Mosby.
Bissell, J., & Cermak, S. (2015). Frameworks, models and trends in school-based occupational therapy in the United States. The Israeli Journal of Occupational Therapy, 24, E49-E69. Abstract →
Models of occupational therapy practice in United States (U.S.) schools continue to evolve in response to the changing and complex needs of today's children to prepare them for postsecondary education, competitive employment and meaningful independent lives. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Occupational Therapy Practice Framework Domain and Process - 3rd Edition (2014) influenced by the World Health Organization International Classification of Functioning and Health (2001), U.S. education laws, and corresponding requirements for inclusion, accountability and evidence-based practice with data-driven services guide occupational therapy practice in U.S. public schools. The role of occupational therapy in the U.S. school setting is to help children participate in the general education curriculum and facilitate the inclusion of children with special needs with peers without disabilities in all aspects of the school day. The purpose of this article is to highlight some of the practice models, current trends and expanded roles of the occupational therapist in the U.S. public schools.
Roley, S. S., Bissell, J., & Clark, G. F. (2015). Occupational therapy for children and youth using sensory integration theory and methods in school-based practice. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 69, 6913410040p1-6913410040p20. doi:10.5014/ajot.2015.696S04. Link to full text
Cermak, S. A., & Bissell, J. (2014). Content and construct validity of Here’s How I Write (HHIW): A Child’s Self-Assessment and Goal Setting Tool. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 68, 296-306. doi:10.5014/ajot.2014.010637. Link to full text Abstract →
OBJECTIVE: We examined content and construct validity of Here's How I Write: A Child's Self-Assessment and Goal Setting Tool, to assess children's perception of their handwriting and set child-directed goals.
METHOD: In Study 1, a content validity study, 6 occupational therapists and 2 educators assessed the need for this type of measure and examined the proposed items. Thirty-four occupational therapists and educators then completed an online survey examining the items. Study 2, a construct validity study, compared the self-ratings of 20 children with poor handwriting and 20 children with good handwriting in Grades 2–5 with their teachers’ ratings.
RESULTS: Results supported test content and indicated freedom from culture and gender bias. The assessment discriminated between good and poor writers. The relationship between teacher and student ratings was significant, although teachers of poor writers rated the children lower than the children rated themselves.
CONCLUSION:These studies provide support for the tool's validity.
Roley, S. S., Bissell, J., & Clark, G. F. (2013). Providing occupational therapy using sensory integration theory and methods in school-based practice. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 63, 823-842. doi:10.5014/ajot.63.6.823. Link to full text Abstract →
AOTA recognizes SI as one of several theories and methods used by occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants working with children in public and private schools. Regardless of the theories and methods utilized, occupational therapy practitioners work within the framework of occupational therapy toward the desired outcome of health and participation through engagement in occupations that allow participation in a child's daily life (AOTA, 2008). When children demonstrate sensory-related deficits that interfere with their ability to access the general education curriculum, occupational therapy using a sensory integrative approach is appropriate.
Roley, S. S., Clark, G. F., & Bissell, J. (2003). Applying sensory integration framework in educationally related occupational therapy practice (2003 statement). American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 57, 652-659. doi:10.5014/ajot.57.6.652. Link to full text Abstract →
Based on the educational team recommendations, occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants working in educationally related settings provide services to students who are eligible for Section 504 or special education under IDEA and need occupational therapy to benefit from their education program. It is the occupational therapist's responsibility to develop an intervention plan based on the student's needs and the therapist's professional knowledge base. The occupational therapist chooses and applies any frame of reference within the domain and process of occupational therapy. Regardless of the frame of reference utilized, the desired outcome of occupational therapy services is always engagement in occupations that allows participation in a student's daily life. When students demonstrate deficits in sensory integration that contribute to a significant and documented discrepancy in their skills within their educational program, the use of a sensory integrative approach may be one frame of reference for, intervention chosen by the occupational therapist.
Bissell, J. C., & Clark, F. (1984). Dichotic listening performance in normal children and adults. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 38, 176-183. doi:10.5014/ajot.38.3.176. Link to full text Abstract →
The purpose of this study was to investigate normative expectations on the dichotic listening test in order to determine the influence of sex and development on dichotic listening performance. Thirty 5-to-6 year olds, thirty 11-to-12 year olds, and 30 adults, 15 males and 15 females in each group, were tested by using consonant-vowel dichotic stimuli. There were no significant differences between males and females except for the 11- to 12-year-old females who were significantly more accurate than the males. Degree of ear asymmetry did not differ among the three age groups; however, the adults and 11-to-12 year olds were significantly more accurate than the 5-to-6 year olds. Guidelines are suggested for the interpretation of dichotic listening test data.
Bissell, J. C., & Mailloux, Z. (1981). The use of crafts in occupational therapy for the physically disabled. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 35, 369-374. doi:10.5014/ajot.35.6.369. Link to full text Abstract →
In this article, the historical use of crafts in occupational therapy for the physically disabled patient is reviewed and the results of a survey aimed at describing current craft use is presented. A questionnaire was sent to a random sample of 250 occupational therapists throughout the United States who chose physical disabilities as their specialty section. Results demonstrated that, while most therapists use crafts to some degree in their therapy programs, other treatment modalities such as therapeutic exercise and activities of daily living were used a greater percentage of the time. Reasons for using crafts, problems with justification of craft use, and participation of certified occupational therapy assistants in craft programs are discussed. Questions are raised concerning the role of therapeutic crafts in the past and present practice of occupational therapy for the physically disabled. Recommendations are made for future research.
Bissell, J., Watling, R., Summers, C., Dostal, J., & Bodison, S. (n.d). Addressing sensory integration across the lifespan through occupational therapy. [Fact sheet], 1-4. Link to full text
Polcyn, P., & Bissell, J. (2005). Flexible models of service using the sensory integration framework in school settings. Sensory Integration Special Interest Section Quarterly, 28(1), 1-4.
Bissell, J. (2004). Sensory Integration Special Interest Section goals and projects 2004. Sensory Integration Special Interest Section Quarterly, 27(2), 1-3.
Bissell, J., & Roley, S. S. (2003). A new look at sensory integration in occupational therapy practice. Sensory Integration Special Interest Section Quarterly, 26(4), 1-4.
Bissell, J., & Peng, S. J. (2001). Assistive technology to support sensory integration, praxis and self-regulation: Needs of children with autism. Sensory Integration Special Interest Section Quarterly, 24(3), 1-4.