Occupational Therapy/Physical Therapy (OT/PT)

OT/PT Role in the School Setting:

Occupational and Physical therapists are Related Service Providers. OT/PTs support students’ access to their specialized instruction and support achievement of IEP goals and objectives

In a school setting, the OT or PT may be involved by facilitating any or all of the following areas:

Occupational Therapy

  • self-help skills (dressing, feeding, hygiene)

  • fine, gross, and visual motor skills

  • sensory processing and visual processing skills

  • positioning, functional mobility, and transitions

  • adaptive devices/equipment & educational tools/toys

Physical Therapy

  • self-help skills (dressing, feeding, hygiene)

  • foundational gross motor skills

  • mobility skills (positioning, transfers, posture and walking)

  • adaptive devices/equipment

  • recreational skills for age appropriate play

Three kids smling for photo

School-Based (Educational) OT/PT Services vs. Medical-Based OT/PT Services

There are distinct differences between educational services and medical services.  This can be somewhat confusing and it is important to understand some key differences.

School-based or Educational motor services provided by OTs and PTs are related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act of 2004 and the Colorado Exceptional Children’s Education Act.  To receive related services, a student must be eligible for an IEP (Individualized Education Program) and require the service to be able to benefit from his/her special education program.  The services are intended to support their access to their educational environment and functional participation within their school environment.  Students may have motor concerns that qualify them for medical-based services, but if the concern is not interfering significantly with their ability to learn and access their educational programming they may not receive motor services at school.

Medical-based services are often delivered in a hospital, out-patient clinic, private therapy clinic, or in your home.  Services are initiated by a referral from a physician and are based on underlying medical causes, delay and/or diagnosis.  Their goal is to improve function across all environments the child interacts within.