Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Oklahoma school districts are required to provide special services to children with disabilities to ensure their educational needs are being met. School-based therapy is available to children ages 3-21, who are found to be eligible for related services, including occupational, physical and speech therapy.
A therapist evaluates a child being considered for related services and works with the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team to determine if the child qualifies for a particular related service.
A school based physical therapist evaluates the child’s ability to function in the school environment, including the classroom, playground, cafeteria, etc. A school PT may make recommendations for physical therapy if the child demonstrates difficulty accessing these environments or participating with other children in these environments due to a disability. A school physical therapist may examine questions such as:
- Can the child safely ascend and descend stairs in the school?
- Can the child get up off the floor after circle time without assistance?
- Can the child sit in a classroom chair without assistance?
- Can the child manage a tray in the cafeteria without assistance?
- Can the child participate in appropriate activities at school independently?
- Can the child access the drinking fountain at school without loss of balance?
- Can the child walk through a busy hallway between classes safely?
- Can the child stand independently?
- Can the child walk safely and independently, walk safely with an assistive device (like a walker or forearm crutches), propel their wheelchair safely and independently through the school environment?
- Can the child access their locker without loss of balance?
- Can the child ascend and descend ramps safely in the school environment?