What do occupational and physical therapists do?
    Occupational and physical therapists plan, implement, and direct programs for students who have educationally significant fine and gross motor difficulties. In order to receive OT/PT services, a student must first be qualified as disabled, and must be eligible to receive special education services. Services are designed to support students in the school setting.

    Occupational and physical therapy services include:

    1. evaluating students’ motor problems.
    2. implementing intervention based on individual student goals.
    3. assessing progress in achieving goals and objectives.
    4. helping parent understand, prevent, and remediate motor problems.
    5. working with school staff and other professionals to meet the motor needs of children relevant to the educational setting.

    What is the purpose of an evaluation?
    Physical and occupational therapists provide evaluations for students suspected of having fine and gross motor difficulties. Students must meet specific criteria for special education services before they can be considered eligible for occupational or physical therapy services. Therapists use the evaluation results to determine which students have motor problems which are educationally significant, meaning that it impacts the student’s educational performance.

    What happens once the evaluation is completed?
    If the evaluation indicates that the student qualifies for services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting is held with the parent.

    • The purpose of this meeting is to develop goals and objectives to meet the student’s needs.
    • An annual review of progress toward IEP goals and objectives is done for each student enrolled in OT/PT services.

    What kinds of activities are used in therapy?
    Therapy activities are:

    • goal directed
    • measurable
    • motivating to the student
    • geared toward enabling the student to participate in classroom and school activities

    How will therapy services be delivered to my child?
    A variety of options are available for the delivery of therapy services.

    • Services may be provided directly to the student by the therapist, or the therapist may consult with classroom staff that carry out fine and gross motor activities.
    • Therapy may be provided in a group or individually.
    • Services may be delivered within the classroom or in a therapy room
    • Services may be incorporated into everyday classroom activities by the classroom staff.
    • Therapy is provided during the normal school day.

    What are gross motor skills?
    Gross motor skills include the following:

    • strength, endurance and balance for walking, sitting, and standing.
    • coordination of both arms, legs and/or sides of the body to perform a variety of activities or sports.
    • increasing or maintaining movement of joints.

    What are fine motor skills?
    Fine motor skills include:

    • skill in using the hands
    • coordination of both hands
    • visual-motor control (e.g. handwriting, cutting, coloring, tracing, copying shapes)
    • visual-perceptual skills (e.g. recognizing shapes/size/direction, assembling puzzles/peg boards)