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Special Education

Occupational and Physical Therapy

Occupational and Physical Therapy practitioners are related service professionals who provide a continuum of services and support under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy in the educational system are provided only when it can be documented that the student needs or requires the services to benefit from their special education program.

The focus of therapies provided in the educational environment are different from those provided in an outpatient therapy clinic or hospital, and determining the need for each of these services is different. The primary role of the school OT and PT is to help students benefit from their educational program within the educational environment. In the school, educational goals hold a primary position while related services may be undertaken only to support the educational goals; in other words, the proposed service must be educationally relevant. Additionally, the child’s needs must be able to be addressed only by the skilled service of a physical or occupational therapist.

The program provided by related services personnel must be collaborative and focus on functional skills and adaptations that promote the physical access to their education and attainment of educational objectives. Services take place in school settings during the natural routines of the school day.

PLEASE NOTE: Prior to the provision of occupational or physical therapy, a referral or a prescription from a licensed physician is required by law following an evaluation in which the student meets the qualifications for services. The IEP committee may agree the service is needed, however, provision is contingent upon the medical referral.

Renee Rivault
OT/PT Team Leader

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