Roles of the Physical Therapist in the Educational Setting
Muscle Strength and Endurance/Postural Control and Stability:
- Maintain safe and effective posture to engage in learning. (Effective = able to maintain the position while operating classroom materials such as scissors, crayons , pencils, etc.).
- Improve positioning to promote comfort and reduce undesired movement.
- Strength to support age appropriate mobility.
- Provide appropriate force to accurately engage in age level gross motor play.
Tone and Flexibility (Range of Motion):
- Minimize the possibility of contractures to improve postural alignment, functional activities, including gait and age appropriate movement patterns, and allow for personal care.
- Provide safe transitioning in halls and stairways.
- Appropriate balance to participate in Physical Education and play on the playground with peers safely.
- Appropriate balance to maintain sitting in classroom chair.
- Improve student’s ability to motor plan and sequence movement patterns necessary to interact in the classroom (i.e. put chair on desk, hang coat on hook) and in Physical Education or on the playground without additional individual attention.
- Coordination to participate in gross motor play (jumping, hopping, skipping, glopping, jumping rope, and ball skills).
Object Manipulation/ Ball Skills:
- To facilitate success in Physical Education
Environmental Adaptations/ Modifications:
- Provide adaptive equipment and seating options to permit access and mobility within the school setting
- Consult with vendors of wheelchairs/orthotics.
- To normalize muscle tone, promote appropriate equilibrium and protective reactions and to integrate sensory input for more effective response to basic sensory information.
- To provide a foundation for the acquisition of and development of motor skills and organization of attention and behavior.