School-Based Physical Therapy

Eileen Magnotta, Physical Therapist, KES, KPS, MPES, 845 225-5025, 
Jaclyn Hatcher, DPT, GFMS, CHS, 845 228-2300, ext. 517,

What is School-Based Physical Therapy? 
School-based physical therapy addresses the functional skills of a student in the educational environment and curriculum based activities. This includes, but is not limited to walking, stair negotiation, coordination, sensory awareness, self care skills, gross motor skills, positioning, and assistive technology. It promotes and improves a student's ability to access education, curriculum, and the school. 

What is the role of the PT in the Education Model?
*Participation in the academic intervention team
*Observation of Students (Parent/Teacher concerns)
*Consultation with teachers
*Attending meetings that support student programming
*Activities that support students in natural environments or general education curriculum
*Staff in-service and professional development
*Provide assistance in environmental adaptations, acquiring, or modifying equipment or devices
*Linking parents to appropriate Community based resources
*Support school compliance and data tracking

Why would a student need school-based Physical Therapy?
*Physical difficulty playing with peers
*Frequent Falls/tripping/clumsiness
*Difficulty maintaining sitting within the classroom
*Difficulty negotiating stairs in the school/bus
*Significant fatigue
*Sensory processing issues
*Difficulty managing the school environment (Cafeteria trays, playground equipment, large movement)

How is it determined that a student needs Physical Therapy Services?
*Starts with a referral (parent, teacher, other related service staff)
*Evaluation - Includes standardized testing, functional testing, observation, case review
*CSE Meeting to determine the level of services warranted
*Prescription needed to begin services

Direct Service vs. Consult

Direct Services
*Service given directly to the student in either a group or in an individual session
*Integrated: In the classroom with typical peers, during PE class, and/or recess
*Non-integrated: In a setting away from peers such as the therapy room or adaptive PE

Consult Services  
*Provides strategies and recommendations to:
    -General education teacher
    -Special education teacher
    -Physical education teacher
*Teaching assistant, special education student monitors

What is the difference between Physical and Occupational Therapy?
*Physical therapists address walking, stairs, balance, coordination, posture, large motor skills, gym/recess skills, and sensory integration
*Occupational therapists address hand skills (writing/small objects), self-care (shoe tying, dressing), sensory integration, organizational skills, and assistive technology