OCCUPATIONAL & PHYSICAL THERAPY
What is the referral process for Occupational and Physical Therapy?
Students can be referred for a school based occupational and/or physical therapy evaluation by a teacher, parent, health service professional or team member of the IEP. If the student’s disability is affecting the student’s educational performance then an evaluation may be appropriate. Students are usually referred to OT and PT if they demonstrate difficulty maneuvering in the school setting, difficulty with visual/motor skills, have balance/coordination concerns or equipment needs.
In order for the student to be evaluated, the family must complete and sign a consent form for the evaluation. This form must also be completed by the student’s physician and be signed and dated by the physician. The OT and PT will not be able to evaluate or provide services to the student until both the family and the physician have provided written permission.
How does my child qualify for Occupational and Physical Therapy?
School-age students are assessed on their ability to function as independently as possible in the school setting based on their potential abilities within their disability. Occupational therapists assess the student’s fine motor skills, visual-perceptual-motor skills, sensory processing skills and self-help skills. Physical therapists assess the student’s walking (ambulation) skills, ability to transfer, ability to utilize classroom desks/lockers, ability to access the cafeteria and restrooms.
Occupational and physical therapists also use clinical observation, clinical judgment, information from teachers, family and student along with standardized testing, as needed, in order to determine a student’s eligibility for services.
What happens next?
The IEP team may consider the following conditions when determining that the student no longer needs Occupational and/or Physical Therapy to benefit from their educational program.
1. The student is functional within the educational environment or has met goals targeted on the IEP, and therapy services are no longer indicated.
2. The student’s disability does not negatively affect his educational program.
3. Other educational personnel are able to assist the students in areas of concern addressed by OT and/or PT, and the student has achieved maximum benefit from OT and/or PT.
4. Student performance remains unchanged despite multiple efforts by the therapist to remediate the concerns or to assist the student in compensating.
5. The student continues to make progress in the areas being addressed by OT and/or PT consistent with developmental progress in other educational areas despite a decrease in OT and/or PT services.
6. Therapy is contraindicated because of the change in medical or physical status.
7. The student’s parents request the termination of services.