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CESA 6 Occupational Therapists and Physical Therapists specialize in working with children in special education. They provide flexible, convenient and cost-effective staffing to meet students’ needs.
Occupational Therapy (OT) is provided to evaluate the child’s functional skills in the areas of self-care, fine motor, academic, vocational and play or leisure activities. Occupational Therapists consult with staff/families providing recommendations, adaptations and activities that may be needed to help improve the child’s functional performance in the classroom.
Physical Therapy (PT) is provided to evaluate the child’s functional motor skills for independent mobility and posture within his/her environment, analyze how their deficits impair their ability to participate in their special educational program. Physical Therapists make recommendations regarding activities and adaptive equipment that would assist the student in being more independent in the classroom environment.
There are differences between an educational (school based) and medical (community based) model of OT or PT service delivery. Simply stated, the medical model generally focuses on the impairment, versus the education model that focuses on the functional outcome as it relates to the child’s IEP.
The medically based therapy is generally provided in an isolated setting and the focus is on components of performance (impairment), i.e., maximize strength, range of motion, quality of movement. It may be unrelated to or complementary to the educational therapy.
The educational model focuses on functional outcomes that will enable a child to benefit from his special education program. The school therapist’s focus on the acquisition of functional skills, using natural opportunities for the child to develop sensory/motor competence in integrated environments, and to identify strategies that school staff and parents can use in the child’s daily routines in order to help the child become more independent.