Occupational and Physical Therapy
Therapy services are related services which may be available for students who are eligible for special education services. Physical and Occupational Therapists work with other school-based IEP team members to help complete assessments and determine what is needed for a student to receive a free appropriate and public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). School-based Physical and Occupational Therapy are to be provided when a student has a need with an observable, functional skill that is critical to his/her ability to function in the school environment and to succeed in the classroom. The child’s functional problem must be due to clinical findings that are responsive to therapeutic intervention in order to be eligible for OT/PT in the school setting.
Questions When Considering a Child’s Eligibility
- Are the child’s therapy goals directly related to the child’s educational goal?
- Can another professional working with the child address the needs?
- Has the child received the service previously, and did he or she progress?
- What is the appropriate combination of direct and consultative services?
- Are the issues related to the child’s therapy a priority in relation to other issues?
- Will the child respond to therapeutic intervention?
- Does the child’s functional deficit reflect a significant delay relative to his or her peers?
In the school setting, Occupational Therapists assess and address the following skills based on functional need identified by the child’s IEP team:
- Fine motor, visual perceptual & visual motor skills and development,
- Sensory processing, motor planning, executive function & organizational skills,
- Social & pre-vocational skills,
- Environmental adaptations and modifications that will accommodate for deficits identified through assessment, and
- Assistive Technology – the therapist collaborates with the team to identify Assistive technology needs.
The primary focus of the consultative method is for the therapist to support the educational team by providing strategies to assist the student in attaining their educational goals. These strategies are to be integrated into a child’s daily classroom routine to facilitate the success within the natural environment by adapting and modifying tasks, tools used to complete assignments, work space, or the environment.
Physical Therapists often assess and address the following skills based on functional need identified by the child’s IEP team:
- Mobility and safety within the school environment, and
- Environmental adaptations and modifications that will accommodate for deficits identified through assessment.
Direct services require the therapist to work face to face with the student. There are typically two types of direct services: pull-out and push-in. Pull-out services require the child to leave their classroom for a specified time to work specifically on activities as a part of the developed treatment plan. The push-in model is an integrated model (see below). The primary emphasis of this contact with the therapist is to facilitate the child’s attainment of specific skills.
The integrated model uses the context of the school community to determine the ability of the student to use newly acquired skills within their natural environment. The therapist’s role is flexible and situational.
If you have questions regarding CCS Related Services, please contact one of our Special Education Coordinators: