School based therapy is a related service provided to assist a child with a disability to benefit from the special education curriculum. The focus of school based OT and PT is typically on the child’s function within the educational setting. The IEP team determines whether or not a therapy intervention is necessary for a child to achieve his or her educational goals.
Physical therapists typically use strategies to enhance a child’s mobility throughout the school environment. This would include, but not be limited to, transitioning among postures in the classroom to allow a child’s fullest participation in activities; managing stairs, hallways, restrooms, cafeteria and playground areas; acquisition of equipment to assist a child’s positions in the classroom and mobility in all school environments.
Occupational therapists design methods of intervention to facilitate a child’s management of self-care activities (hygiene, dressing, eating) and a child’s participation in classroom activities (preparation for tasks, written work, keyboarding, etc.). Occupational therapists will provide assistive or modified tools to assist a child’s functional performance in academic, recreational and self help areas.
Occupational and physical therapy services are usually provided in a collaborative model where therapists routinely interact with other members of the child’s IEP team, including parents, to coordinate strategies of intervention. Whenever possible, therapists use natural educational environments and opportunities for children to learn and practice functional skills.
For more information, contact Gwen Westlund, Therapy Services Coordinator.