Physical Therapy (PT) is a related service under Part B and Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Physical Therapy is available as a “related service” under IDEA in a child’s IEP when the service is required for a child with a disability to benefit from his or her special education program. Educationally necessary PT means that a child with a disability has a need for improvement in his or her functional skills related to his or her performance in the educational environment. Physical therapists look at the child’s ability to physically access the classroom and campus environments and focus on the child’s ability in a variety of areas. Emphasis must be placed on the context of the child’s learning and activity. Physical therapists in WUSD work collaboratively with a student’s IEP team and participate in screening, evaluation, program planning, and intervention. As a member of the IEP team, physical therapists design and implement physical therapy interventions—including teaching and training of family and education personnel and measurement and documentation of progress—to help the student achieve his/her IEP goal. Physical therapists assist students in accessing school environments and benefiting from their educational program.
The purpose of occupational therapy (OT) in the public school setting is to support positive educational outcomes as described by the State of California Performance Plan (CDE 2007-2008). Based on the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) practice framework, OTs work with the educational team to support a child’s ability to access their educational curriculum and benefit from their overall educational program. School-based occupational therapy is designed to affect the student’s ability to learn, function and profit from his/her educational experience, rather than be an isolated service he/she benefits from. When a certified occupational therapist, is working in an educational model, their primary role is to provide direct or consultative services to help children to fulfill their role as students by teaching and developing skills in the deficit areas, and the students are then provided with an opportunity to practice these skills in the natural classroom setting. WUSD occupational therapists design and implement programming to improve inclusion and accessibility of the curriculum, and collaborate with classroom teachers providing consultation on strategies that support student success.
Adapted Physical Education
Adapted Physical Education is physical education, which has been adapted or modified, so that it is as appropriate for the person with a disability as it is for a person without a disability. Federal law mandates that physical education be provided to students with disabilities and defines Physical Education as the development of:
- physical and motor skills
- fundamental motor skills and patterns (throwing, catching, walking, running, etc.)
- skills in aquatics, dance, and individual and group games and sports (including intramural and lifetime sports)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (1997) uses the term disability as a diagnostic category that qualifies students for special services. The APE teacher is a direct service provider, not a related service provider, because physical education for children with disabilities is a federally mandated component of special education services [U.S.C.A. 1402 (25)]. This means that physical education needs to be provided to the student with a disability as part of the special education services that child and receives. This is contrasted with physical therapy and occupational therapy, which are related services. These therapies are provided to the child with disabilities only if he/she needs them to benefit from instruction. 2008 Adapted Physical Education National Standards (APENS).