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Physical Therapy Services (PT)
Definition: Physical therapists work collaboratively with a student’s IEP team to improve student access and participation in school and community settings. Physical therapists provide professional expertise in the areas of self-help skills, foundational gross motor skills, mobility skills (transfers, walking, and equipment use), posture and positioning, and recreational skills for age-appropriate play. Physical therapy interventions promote skill acquisition and environmental adaptation and are commonly embedded within the context of student activities and routines.
Qualifications of a School Physical Therapist
Physical therapists must successfully complete a physical therapy program that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency and be licensed by the Colorado State Department of Regulatory Agencies.
Criteria for Receiving School Physical Therapy Services
Physical Therapy may be provided as a related service to support a student’s individualized educational program if:
The Student . . .
- requires regular monitoring and modification of physical strategies or equipment to maintain school accessibility and participation.
- has neuromuscular, orthopedic, or medical issues limiting their access and/or participation in school routines and environments.
- has poor functional motor skills limiting their ability to navigate the educational setting and/or participate in developmentally appropriate interactions with peers during recreational activities.
- has impaired mobility skills limiting their ability to navigate stairs, ramps, uneven terrain, or change positions effectively.
- has decreased independent living skills limiting their ability to manage personal needs in the cafeteria, bathroom, and locker room.
- due to a chronic condition, is at risk for developing complications that may limit school access and/or participation.
The Colorado Department of Education Physical Therapy listserv supports school-based PTs: 1) by providing information and news regarding the profession; 2) by announcing professional development and training opportunities; and, 3) by posting school-based job openings. There are no advertisements from vendors or contract-based companies. This service is also chat-free.
Physical Therapy Advisory Council
The Exceptional Student Services consultant for PT along with regional PT representatives who comprise the Physical Therapy Advisory Council, meet throughout the year to inform the Colorado Department of Education on statewide PT professional learning and technical assistance needs and assist in the development of guidance materials to support the profession.
- American Physical Therapy Association - see Careers and Education
Tools and Resources
- OT/PT Brochure (PDF)
- OT/PT Brochure - Spanish (PDF)
- Technical Assistance: School Physical Therapist (PDF)
- Accredited Schools Online Physical Therapy
Accredited Schools Online has just put together a new guidebook for physical therapists and the schooling options available to them. It is an in-depth guide that offers information about the schooling required, career options, and facts about entering into the career field.
- Memo - Direct and Indirect Service (PDF)
- Memo - Speech-Language Pathology Services, Occupational Therapy Services, and Physical Therapy Services under the Rules for the Administration of the Exceptional Children's Educational Act, April 2009 (PDF)
- Section 504
- Direction and Supervision of the Physical Therapist Assistant (PDF)
- American Physical Therapy Association (APTA)
- Autism Society of Colorado
- Autism Speaks
- Autism Society of America
- Department of Regulatory Agencies
- Peak Parent Center
- Physical Therapy Brings Motion to Life
- Rocky Mountain Down Syndrome Association
- Section on Pediatrics - APTA
- Special Olympics Colorado
For more information, please contact:
Email Gina Herrera
Phone: (303) 253-0451
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If you have problems with broken links or accessing the content on this page, please contact the Exceptional Student Services Unit at ESSU@cde.state.co.us. Please copy the URL link for this page into the email when referencing the problem you are experiencing.