Physical Therapist

Physical therapists in public schools provide services to children with disabilities that interfere with their educational needs. In a school setting, a major goal of physical therapy is to address gross motor deficits that directly affect a child’s ability to participate in the educational process. If a student’s ability to participate in the educational process is compromised by a physical disability, then intervention by a physical therapist, as a member of the educational team, may be appropriate.

The PT may use a variety of approaches to address motor problems including:

  • consultation to the classroom teacher regarding the child’s disability and positioning and equipment needs
  • activities to develop balance and coordination training in mobility skills, including the use of walkers, wheelchairs and crutches
  • exercises to improve strength and flexibility to enhance a student’s participation in the school environment

The goal of Physical Therapy in a school setting is:

  • to identify children who have significant developmental delays and/or medical conditions which result in functional or motor limitations
  • to promote the optimal functioning and participation of the student in the educational environment

The role of the Physical Therapist in the school setting is:

  • to provide screenings and evaluations of gross motor development, mobility and activities of daily living
  • to develop an individualized program to facilitate age or cognitive level appropriate motor skills that will enhance a student’s participation in the school environment
  • to enable the student to negotiate the school environment in a safe, timely and efficient manner and as independently as possible
  • to enhance the student’s ability to acquire and express information through appropriate positioning, seating and use of adaptive equipment
  • to develop intervention strategies with parents, school personnel and students to address motor problems that may interfere with the educational process
  • to recommend adaptations to the school environment to facilitate student access
  • to provide in-service training to parents, teachers, students and other professionals regarding developmental and physical disabilities and their impact on education and the role of physical therapy in a school setting

Ellen McCrave, Physical Therapist

617-635-8544 V/TTY
617-635-6379 Fax

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