Occupational and Physical Therapy in the Early Childhood Classroom
Occupational and Physical therapists help support a child's ability to access their educational environment. Occupational therapists focus on developing fine motor skills, self help skills, and sensory regulation. Physical therapists focus on gross motor development and access to the school environment including the bus, classroom, hallways, and playground.
Schools provide occupational therapy when a child with a disability requires this related service to assist the child to benefit from special education. Occupational therapists use purposeful activity to facilitate a child's active participation in self-maintenance; academic and vocational pursuits; and play or leisure activities that occur in school environments. Using direct and indirect services, as well as assistive technology and environmental modifications, school occupational therapists collaborate with parents, teachers and other educational staff to help implement a child's special education program
Physical therapist assist with gross motor skill development to enable students to more actively and independently participate in classroom related gross motor activities and to access the playground. PT's also assist with a student's ability to access their environment including maneuvering throughout the classroom, sitting on the floor or in a regular classroom chair, getting on and off a school bus, and using any adaptive equipment they may need to facilitate participation throughtout their school day.