Occupational Therapy & Physical Therapy Services
When occupational therapy is provided as a related service, it is meant to enhance a student's ability to function in an educational program. By focusing upon the skills of daily living, occupational therapists can often help individual students to function in the least restrictive environment. Generally, occupational therapists:
- provide treatment to strengthen and develop fine motor functions;
- focus on treatment of the small muscles, primarily those of the face, upper trunk, arms, and hands; and
- improve the student's ability to perform tasks necessary for independent functioning, such as chewing, swallowing, placement of the tongue and mouth for speech formation, eye-hand coordination, and manual dexterity.
- provide treatment to increase muscle strength, mobility, and endurance;
- focus on gross motor skills that rely on the large muscles of the body involved in physical movement and range of motion;
- help to improve the student's posture, gait, and body awareness; and
- monitor the function, fit, and proper use of mobility aids and devices.
In relation to special education, physical therapists are primarily concerned with developing and enhancing the physical potential of students with disabilities, so that they can achieve maximum independence and function in all their educational activities.
Lead OT & PT
VDOE supports school based occupational and physical therapists and offers each LEA an opportunity to identify one lead OT and one lead PT. These individuals receive information and announcements pertaining to school based OT and PT practice. The Lead OT and PT staff are also invited to attend one VDOE Lead meetings per year with the intention of sharing this information with staff in the LEA.