Related Services (Speech, OT, and PT)

  • Speech and Language Therapy: Speech and language therapy is a service that supports students with communication disorders and difficulties within the educational setting. These services are designed to address a wide range of challenges, including speech sound disorders, language delays, fluency disorders, and pragmatic (social) communication difficulties. The primary goal of Speech and Language Therapy is to enhance students' ability to effectively communicate and engage in meaningful interactions, both academically and socially. Eligibility for speech and language therapy is determined through an evaluation process, which assesses a student's communication skills, strengths, and needs. Once identified, students receive targeted instruction and intervention tailored to their specific requirements. These interventions may be conducted in various formats, such as one-on-one sessions, small groups, or classroom-based support. The instruction can take place within both special education and general education environments. These evaluations may be completed as part of a comprehensive evaluation to include multiple areas of concern or as a single area assessment.

    Physical Therapy (PT): Physical therapy is a related service that supports students with disabilities whose physical needs for mobility, strength, balance, and movement create a barrier to their access to the educational environment. Eligibility for physical therapy is determined through the evaluation process, which attempts to identify student strengths and needs and the impact of the disability on the student's experience of school. Once identified, students receive instruction and practice around their specific needs, which may be done in one-on-one, small group, or large group settings. Instruction can be in special education or general education environments. Physical therapists are also crucial members of the IEP team, particularly in terms of identifying assistive support and appropriate accommodations and modifications that increase independence and access.

    Occupational Therapy (OT): Occupational therapy is a related service to the student’s school program. Occupational Therapists are trained in the use of therapeutic activities to help individuals who have difficulty engaging and participating in desired life activities or "occupations.” For children in school, these occupations may be drawing, writing, arts and crafts, recess, social skills, and playtime. Occupational Therapy may be appropriate for students who have difficulty engaging and participating in these occupations. Eligibility for occupational therapy is determined through the evaluation process, which attempts to identify student’s strengths and needs that support or limit their participation at school and access to their academic curriculum. If more suitable, occupational therapy services may also be provided through a 504 Plan. When a child qualifies for occupational therapy in the school, the focus of the program is often to improve one or more of the following areas: fine and/or visual motor skills, learning difficulties that are influenced by poor motor coordination, and sensory motor difficulties that affect the student’s ability to focus or get organized to perform schoolwork. Occupational therapists may also help identify and support appropriate accommodations, modifications, and/or assistive technologies that increase a student’s independence and access to their education.