Occupational & Physical Therapy

Occupational and Physical Therapy

Occupational and Physical therapy services are available to students whose Individualized Education Program (IEP) indicates these services as necessary in their educational environment. Determination of need is based on a diagnostic evaluation. Referrals can be made to the evaluation team for individual student assessments. Students are seen through pull out services, in the therapy room, as well as through push-in services in their classroom. Coordination of services, and skills to be addressed, between the therapist and the classroom teacher is vital part of the student’s success. ASD employs a full time Occupational therapist and uses contract services, on a part time basis, for Physical Therapy needs.

Click below to find out more about each of their role:

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Federal IDEA regulations define occupational therapy as services provided by a qualified occupational therapist. The definition includes improving, developing, or restoring functions impaired or lost through illness, injury, or deprivation; improving ability to perform tasks for independent functioning if functions are impaired or lost; and preventing, through early intervention, initial or further impairment or loss of function (CFR 300.34(c)(6)).

According to the Arizona Department of Education:

Within the school setting, the occupational therapist looks at student performance in the following areas of occupation:

  • Activities of Daily Living—activities that are oriented toward taking care of one’s own body. They include personal hygiene and grooming, toilet hygiene, dressing (as related to school performance), eating, and feeding.

  • Instrumental Activities of Daily Living—activities that are oriented toward interacting with the environment and often involve complex routines. They include use of a communication device, meal/snack preparation and cleanup, safety procedures, and shopping (grocery and other).

  • Education—activities that are oriented toward being a student and participating in a learning environment. They include academic (e.g., assisting a student to be successful with learning and/or making adaptations for math, reading, writing) and non-academic areas (e.g., recess, lunchroom, hallway), along with participation in extracurricular and prevocational activities.

  • Play/Leisure—any spontaneous or organized activity that provides enjoyment, entertainment, amusement, or diversion. This includes play exploration (e.g., exploration play, practice play, pretend play, constructive play, and symbolic play) and play participation (e.g., participating in play, maintaining a balance of play, and obtaining, using, and maintaining toys, equipment, and supplies appropriately).

  • Work—activities needed for engaging in employment or volunteer activities that, for students, may include learning to write out checks or complete job applications, as well as developing work habits.

  • Social Participation—individual and group interactions with peers and friends.


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Federal IDEA regulations define physical therapy as services provided by a qualified physical therapist. (CFR 300.34 (c) (9)).

According to the Arizona Department of Education:

Specific student performance areas that may be addressed by physical therapy when it is required for a student to participate in school activities and remain in the least restrictive environment include:

  • Neuromuscular and musculoskeletal systems—range of motion, control of muscle tone, muscle strength, endurance, gross motor coordination, and motor planning.

  • Sensory processing—equilibrium and protective reactions, proprioceptive and kinesthetic input, and bilateral coordination).

  • Functional communication—classroom positioning, recommendations for adaptive devices or equipment.

  • Environmental adaptations—evaluations and recommendations for modifications of architectural barriers and children’s equipment.

  • Posture and positioning—symmetry of positions, handling and transfer methods.

  • Adaptive equipment—skin care, recommendations for splints, bracing, and positioning devices.

  • Functional mobility—transfer skills, gait evaluation and recommendations, wheelchair mobility.

  • Mobility and transfer skills—adaptive equipment, wheelchair and equipment care, and use for self-help.

  • Physiological function—functional muscle strengthening, cardiorespiratory function and fitness, body mechanics, energy conservation techniques.

  • Prevocational and vocational skills—generally strengthening, sitting and standing tolerance, motor coordination, adaptive equipment.

  • Education/communication—information on disability and educational impact, staff training and development, liaison between medical and education staff (Martin, 1992).

If you would like more information, please contact us.