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Occupational Therapy & Physical Therapy

The occupation in school is learning, and movement matters!

yoga stretch in the classroom

Students learn best when they have structured and consistent movement breaks throughout the day. Movement helps the brain reorganize and helps the body re-energize. This is important at home, too – getting enough exercise throughout the day promotes a healthy mind and body.

Go!Occupational therapists and physical therapists can provide teachers and parents with ideas and resources to promote movement for learning.

Some students with disabilities may require more focused consultation or direct therapy services to help them achieve individualized education program (IEP) goals or objectives, or as an accommodation in a 504 plan. Therapists also use assistive technology to help students with learning and movement activities.

writing with wiki stixMovement is especially important for students with disabilities, as they sometimes have a limited ability to

  • move independently,
  • control movements,
  • achieve adequate endurance,
  • organize school work, or
  • stay focused on a task.

Occupational therapy (OT) is provided when no other team member can address a student’s significant needs at school in the following areas:

  • Fine motor
  • Sensory processing
  • Self-help

Physical therapy (PT) is provided when no other team member can address a student’s significant needs at school in these areas:

  • Gross motor
  • Mobility
  • Balance

OT and PT are related services to special education. A student must first qualify for special education (have an IEP) or a 504 plan before OT or PT services can be considered.

How can I refer my child for an occupational therapy or physical therapy evaluation?

OT and PT are related services. This means that a child must first qualify for special education (have an IEP) or be eligible for a 504 plan. If you suspect that your child has a disability, you can make a special education referral at any MPS school or at Central Services.

If your child already has an IEP, contact your child's special education teacher to see whether the concerns you have are also concerns of the teacher.

My child receives OT or PT services outside of MPS. Can he get therapy at school?

Therapy at school must be related to your child’s special education program or 504 accommodation plan, which is different from therapy in the community. For more information, see the guide "Understanding School-Based and Medically-Based Services."

My child’s doctor gave me a prescription for therapy – does the school have to provide it?

Recommendations from a physician are always considered, but the IEP or 504 team will determine the amount, if any, of therapy services that a student requires at school.

When are therapy services scheduled?

MPS OTs and PTs serve multiple school sites. Therapy sessions are scheduled at mutually agreeable times with the student's teacher, and at times that are most beneficial to the student.

Where are therapy sessions held?

Whenever possible, therapy is provided in the classroom setting. A child can continue to receive instruction with peers while receiving extra support with specific tasks from the therapist. At times, it may be necessary to remove a child from the classroom to work on specific skills that would be a distraction in the classroom setting.

Contacts

Coordinator
Lisa Barczyk, PT
Email: barczyla@milwaukee.k12.wi.us
Phone: 414-438-3415
Fax: 414-438-3404

Manager of Psychological and Allied Health Services
Jeffrey Molter, Ph.D.
Email: molterjw@milwaukee.k12.wi.us
Phone: 414-438-3677

 

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