School-based physical and occupational therapy is governed by federal and state laws. Services are provided under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to ensure that all students with disabilities have access to and can participate in the educational process. Therapy may be provided individually or in small groups.
The physical therapist addresses sensory-motor, neuromuscular, or developmental issues that may limit access, safety, or participation at school. The therapist may also collaborate with the educational staff to modify the child’s environment or routine to enhance the child’s ability to benefit from his or her education. The physical therapist participates in the development of the IEP along with the other members of the IEP team, including the student and the family.
Occupational Therapy is provided to students who have been identified by the IEP team as needing OT support in order to access their educational program. Occupational therapists address functional needs that are necessary for the student to participate in the educational environment including sensory-motor processing, fine motor coordination, daily living skills and oral motor skills. The goal of therapy is to help children lead as independent, productive and satisfying lives as they are able.