What Is Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy uses various techniques to prevent deformity and further disability, to gain restore, or maintain functioning, to improve strength and motor skill performance.
The physical therapist (PT) in the school setting assesses gross motor skills, such as mobility and posture, to determine if the child has the skills necessary to perform as a student. The PT provides services that aid students in walking, performing physical exercise and wheelchair activities, in positioning themselves for opportunities to learn and independence in caring for personal needs. The PT selects assistive devices and provides training in their use. The PT also facilitates the transition of children into preschool, or later, into school-age programs. The PT helps to prepare the school staff to meet the student's needs; evaluate the building, classroom, and play areas for accessibility and consults in adaptation and acquisition of necessary equipment.
Who Receives Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is provided to children who have been identified with a gross motor deficit and who have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) stating a need for physical therapy services.
Where are Services Provided?
These services may be provided in the preschool, in another child care setting, or in the home depending on the child's needs and the educational plan. Some common diagnoses that may require physical therapy are cerebral palsy, musculoskeletal abnormalities, abnormal muscle tone, limitation of joint mobility, inadequate balance reactions, and decreased coordination.
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