Occupational - Physical Therapy

Definition Eligibility Process Related Service


Physical and/or Occupational Therapy is (are) related service(s) that assist a child with a disability to benefit from Special Education. These therapies must relate to the student's successful participation in educational activities. A student will not be designated as a "child with a disability" if the child needs only a related service, but not special education. Educationally relevant Occupational / Physical Therapy is delivered in an environment where naturally occurring activities / routines address goals and objectives intended to help students achieve greater functional independence.


Documentation the student meets both of the following:

  1. a chronic or acute medical or health condition as diagnosed and described by a licensed physician; and
  2. the existence of educational needs as a result of the medical or health condition


  • Teacher/parent identifies problem hindering student's function in school environment
  • Parent obtains doctor's referral for occupational/physical therapy from student's physician.
  • Referral for testing signed by parents. Testing includes therapy evaluation, ability / achievement assessment, and current educational performance as evaluated by the teacher. If student is currently eligible for special education, the ability/achievement assessment is waived .
  • Assessments are completed
  • Eligibility/IEP meetings are scheduled
  • In order to qualify for Occupational / Physical Therapy, the student must also be eligible for Special Education through the ability achievement testing process.

Occupational/Physical Therapy as Related Service

  • Delivered in minutes per month
  • Delivered in a variety of settings
  • Works in collaboration with student's support staff (regular educator, special education, classroom aide, etc.) allowing the student to function successfully while pursuing appropriate educational goals.
  • Encourages co-ordination among team members
  • Builds skills of other professionals / para­professionals
  • Enhances resources for problem solving
  • Provide training for support staff so that activities may be infused into the educational program and daily activities
  • Employs the concept of shared goals
  • Aides students participating in job related activities