Occupational Therapy (OT) services in HEB ISD are provided by a qualified occupational therapist. A qualified occupational therapist is one that meets the standards developed by the Texas Board of Occupational Therapy Examiners. [See copy of license rules] OT services include improving, developing or restoring functions impaired or lost through illness, injury or deprivation; improving ability to perform tasks for independent functioning if functions are impaired or lost; and through early intervention preventing initial or further impairment or loss of function. (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act - IDEA)
Physical Therapy (PT) services in HEBISD are provided by a qualified physical therapist. A qualified physical therapist is one that meets the standards of Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners. . [See copy of license rules] PT services generally address a child's posture, muscle strength, mobility, and organization of movement in educational environments. Physical therapy may be provided to prevent the onset or progression of an impairment, functional limitation, disability, or changes in physical function or health resulting from injury, disease, or other causes. (IDEA)
OT/PT Frequently Asked Questions
What are the roles of OTs and PTs in the school?
Occupational and Physical therapy are both considered “related services” under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). “Related services” are a wide array of supportive services provided to children with disabilities to assist them in benefiting from special education in the least restrictive environment. The primary function of occupational and physical therapy is to assist the student to access educational instruction. This does not necessarily mean the best or maximum benefit. In the school setting, services may be provided directly to the child and/or on behalf of the child. A student is eligible for occupational or physical therapy once the educational team has determined that a student has an educational disability. However, not all students that are eligible for special education services have an educational need for related services. An evaluation by the occupational and/or physical therapist is needed in order to provide the ARD committee information to address educational need. Services provided by both occupational and physical therapists are directed toward supporting the child’s participation in educationally related learning experiences.
Does my child qualify for OT or PT services?
School-based occupational therapy and physical therapy is available for students who are eligible for special education. The ARD committee can refer a student for an OT or PT assessment. Occupational and physical therapists complete formal or informal assessments and work with other members of the school-based team (teachers, paraprofessionals, counselors, parents) to help determine what is needed for a student with a disability to receive a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.
At the completion of the OT or PT evaluation, an Admission, Review, Dismissal (ARD) committee meeting is scheduled to discuss results and determine eligibility for the OT or PT service(s). The OT and PT collaborate with the educational team to identify a student’s present level of academic achievement and functional performance, annual goals and determine the services, supports, and modifications that are required for the student to achieve these goals, including addressing transition needs. Federal and state laws mandate that occupational and physical therapy services provided in the school setting are educationally relevant.
How are OT/PT services delivered in the school setting?
Delivery of services can occur in a variety of settings, using both direct and consultative service models. Strategies and interventions are integrated, whenever possible, into naturally occurring activities and routines within the educational program. Therapy services should be provided within the context of the child’s educational program, where the need occurs. This means that OT/PT services may occur on the playground, in the lunch room, art class, physical education class, bus, general education classroom, resource classroom, motor lab, community or bathroom. All students will receive and benefit from a wide array of intervention methodologies, including direct services, consultative services, and/or equipment modifications
What is the difference between OT/PT medical model and OT/PT school-based model?
A medical diagnosis or motor delay confirmed by a physician or evaluation results does not automatically indicate a need for school based occupational or physical therapy. In order to be eligible for school based therapy there must be a negative impact on the student’s classroom performance or access to his/her education, in addition to having a disability. School based OT and PT are not intended to replace community medical services.