The Speech Language Pathologist's Role in Schools

Laurie Ray
Physical Therapy Consultant to NC DPI
[email protected]
(This is powerpoint is intended to be used as a tool by you to adapt
and change for you to use your school system.)
 To orient teachers, teacher assistants, school staff ,
principals, parents and other administrators to the
potential roles of School-based Physical Therapists
(SBPTs) in schools
 To indicate how best to use SBPTs as a resource.
Related Service?
Physical Therapy is one of the related services under
Part B of IDEIA.
 School-based physical therapy services must be
related to an educational need.
 To receive school-based PT, a student must qualify
for special education and need the service to:
 achieve their IEP goals and/or
 access to and participate in the educational
 Related services are not provided because there is a
transportation problem or other obstacle in getting
outpatient or home based physical therapy.
Community and School-based Services:
It’s not an either/or situation..
Some children should receive services under
more than one model.
 The frequency or intensity of physical
therapy they receive in one setting may not
meet all of the child's needs for PT.
 Some goals may not be addressed through schoolbased services & may require home or community
 In each setting, the child should be assessed
individually to determine the best way to meet his
or her needs.
From start to finish!
 Accept referrals
 Conduct assessments
 Participate in Student Assistance Team or RtI
 Plan interventions
 Carry out interventions
 Document services
 Collaborate with and educate families, teachers
and other staff
 Share assessment results with Individual
Education Program (IEP) Teams
 SBPTs can collaborate with teachers to promote
activity and motor skills into their classrooms and
class routines.
 If interventions are successful, the SBPT remains
available for questions or consultation.
 If interventions are not successful the process for
referral to Special Education is initiated.
 SBPTs use a variety of assessment tools NOT just
standard tests. We do:
 Observations throughout the campus and student’s
Formal and informal testing of motor
skills and function
Interview teachers, parents, student and other staff
Collect any student data that already exists
 Assessments are performed for all parties (parents,
administrators, teachers….. ) to learn more about a
Eligibility for Special Education
Three Prongs
The student is a ‘student with a disability’.
2. The disability adversely affects
educational or functional performance
at school.
3. The performance deficits related to the
disability are such that the student
requires specially designed instruction in
order to ensure access to the general
Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2004)
Assessment, Goals & Services
Don’t get the…
before the…..
Serving Students
 There is no eligibility for a related service. Once
goals are developed, the IEP team determines what
services are needed in order to meet the IEP goals
and for the student to make progress.
 The Individuals with Disabilities Education
Improvement Act (IDEA 04) and NC Policies that
Govern Services for Children with Disabilities say
Special Education BEGINS in regular education
settings then moves to more restrictive
Determining School-based
Services and Supports
What is needed for the student to:
 Advance appropriately toward attaining goals
 Be involved and progress in the general curriculum
 Participate in non academic
activities (including extracurricular)
 Be educated and participate with
other students with and without
What Do PTs Do in Schools?
 Work with students directly on motor and safety skills
to improve mobility and independence
 Work with staff to facilitate the student’s participation
in class activities and ensure staff safety
 Work to assist students’ access to their curriculum,
extra curricular activities, their classroom, bus, school
and school grounds
 Consult for facility planning and transition planning
(work sites, community access and plans for after
School-based Physical Therapist (SBPT) Involvement
on a Programmatic Level
 Architectural barriers and plan for modifications and
new construction
Promote interaction with peers
Recreational areas (consultation for
Safety and prevention policies, activities and
procedures (evacuation, good body mechanics, health
General environmental modifications to promote
independence and sound ergonomics
Things we WANT to do
 Collaborate with teachers
 Serve students in classrooms, regular education,
resource, self contained classes, in extra curricular
activities (clubs, teams, etc.)
 As a part of a transition plan serve students on
work sites, in the community
 Contribute our knowledge to student assistance
teams, facility boards, renovation teams,
curriculum teams
 Consult with other staff members on Essential
Standards (Standard Course of Study)
Related Services
 Related services are not ‘good for a lifetime’. We set
goals, work to meet them, and work ourselves out of a
job as students are able to participate in their school
day without our support.
 The Related Service Support Description, a new part
of the IEP, helps related service providers document
services we provide on behalf of students
 Often, there are more effective ways to serve students
other than direct therapy by increasing opportunities
for daily practice by enriching their daily routines.
Generalizing Skills
 Research has proven that many students do not
carry over skills taught in isolation or learned with
an adult to use on the playground or with their
 Skills taught where those skills are used (in
classrooms, on work sites, in the cafeteria,
playground), require no ‘carry over’ to a new
setting with new people.
 This is why it is best practice for school-based
therapists to serve students where they are.
What roles do pediatric PTs occupy?
 Problem solver
 Coordinator
 Communicator
 Consultant
 Service provider
We want to help you and help ALL children
Comments, Questions??