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Occupational/Physical Therapy Services

Occupational and Physical Therapy are related services provided by school personnel when a case conference committee determines OT and/or PT services are necessary to enable the student with a disability to benefit from special education.  The OT/PT staff works with the members of the educational team to develop and deliver programs in the least restrictive environment.  This is done through purposeful educational activities designed to assist in the development of components that are pre-requisites for academic learning.  These activities are developed to support the goals in the IEP.  Other strategies may include training the student, paraprofessionals, or teachers in the use of modifications, adaptations, adapted equipment, or specific exercises/positions to enhance a student's educational performance.

OT/PT services in the schools must be educationally relevant.  Delivery of interventions in the educational setting is distinctly different from a clinically-based or medically-based treatment.  Although medical conditions may be present, unless it impacts the student's ability to benefit from the individualized educational program, services may not be required.  The amount of services is a case conference decision based upon observing the student within the educational setting and assessing their ability to meet the demands of the educational program and setting.

Certain eligibility guidelines are mandated by law. In order for the student to recieve school-based OT or PT services, he/she must also be identified as fitting into at least one of the following eligibility categories:  autism spectrum disorder, language or speech impairment, deaf-blind, developmental delay (early childhood), emotional disability, deaf or hard of hearing, specific learning disability, intelectual disability, multiple disabilities, other health impairment, orthopedic impairment, traumatic brain injury, or blind or low vision.

A student not eligible under any of the above categories may not be formally assessed or treated by the OT or PT, unless this is a part of a multi-disciplinary team evaluation.  However, an informal OT or PT observation of such a student may be conducted if the parent and teacher so desire.  Following the observation, the therapist(s) may be able to make some suggestions to the parents and/or teachers regarding any specific problem the student may be having in regard to sensorimotor functioning in the classroom.

A physician, teacher, administrator, parent or Area Program staff may request an OT or PT observation and/or evaluation.  An OT/PT observation requires a form completed by the requesting team member with a parent's signature.  Before an evaluation is conducted, the following must be obtained:  a signed parent permission, release of medical information with physician's name and address, and the physician's referral for OT and/or PT services.  Results of an observation or formal evaluation will be presented to the appropriate team members.


- Therapist provides direct contact with the student at designated intervals.  The therapist's contact is required because his/her skills are necessary to insure safety and effectiveness of interventions identified in the IEP.

MONITORING - The therapist provides training for staff and ensuring appropriate equipment is in place.  Some contact is spent with the student to monitor progress to ensure appropriate programming of IEP goals.

CONSULT - The therapist trains and discusses with staff the student's needs for programming and ensures the proper equipment is in place.  The student is generally observed in the school setting, but not usually pulled out of class for one-on-one services.

An annual case review (ACR) is held annually to discuss OT/PT progress in the educational setting.  A student's level of service may change.  This can occur when traned staff require less support, the student has learned to compensate, or the student has reached their maximum potential in the OT/PT educational program.  The case conference can then determine services are no longer required.

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