Occupational and physical therapists provide services to enhance the educational and developmental success for children with orthopedic impairments. This educational consultation service may consist of a combination of consultation and training with school staff and families based on individual student needs.
Referral and Evaluation
For children birth-to-five, referrals for evaluation are made through the local early intervention/early childhood special education (EI/ECSE) program. For school-aged students, referrals are made to the special education program at the student’s school. Children may be assessed for developmental and functional fine motor and gross motor skills, positioning, equipment needs, activities of daily living, and mobility.
To facilitate the evaluation process, a checklist of motor, self-care, and sensory behaviors should be completed and submitted along with referral paperwork. For more information on OT/PT services in educational settings, read Scope of School Services: OT and PT.
Therapists provide consultation to school staff and families for children eligible for services. Teachers and EI/ECSE Specialists are assisted with program development and interpretation of medical information. Inservice training opportunities are available to enhance knowledge and understanding of issues impacting children’s progress toward IFSP and IEP goals.
Therapists assist in the implementation of IFSP and IEP goals with a focus on adaptations and functional skills that promote progress toward those goals. Therapists provide support to school staff toward the collaborative implementation of students’ and children’s goals.
Adaptive or Specialized Equipment
A library of equipment is available for loan including assistive technology, positioning equipment, recreational equipment, and mobility aids.
Occupational Therapy (OT)
OTs focus on daily living skills to maximize a child’s independence at home (birth-to-three) and for students in educational settings (3-to-21). OT services include a range of support including assessment, fine motor skill development, modification of equipment and environment, self-help and feeding skills. OTs collaborate with families, teachers and other school staff to meet each student’s individual needs.
Additional areas addressed by the OT include but are not limited to:
- Visual motor skills
- Self-help/ feeding skills
- Adaptive technology
- Play and recreation
Physical Therapy (PT)
PTs focus on child self-sufficiency and safety to enhance independence both at home and at school. PT services include a range of support including gross motor skills, mobility and environmental adaptations and accessibility. PTs collaborate with families, teachers and other school staff to meet each student’s individual needs.
The role of the PT in the schools is to promote motor skills, strength and coordination, functional posture, appropriate positioning and mobility in the school setting.
Additional areas addressed by the PT include, but are not limited to:
- Safe handling techniques
- Wheelchair and equipment needs
- Postural control
- Gait training/mobility skills
- Braces, splints, prosthetics
- Transfer techniques