Pediatric Health Consultants, Inc. is a group of nearly 50 Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Recreational and Speech and Language Pathology Therapy practitioners who provide pediatric rehabilitation services in the school setting under the federal Individual's Disability Education Act (IDEA). All of the therapists are licensed/certified/registered as required by the State of Michigan and their respective professional organizations. The licensed Occupational and Physical therapists oversee the services that are provided by the Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant and Physical Therapy Assistant through collaboration. Each skilled practitioner works with students from 0-26 years of age, parents, caregivers and educators to facilitate the children's ability to engage in functional activities within the school setting. At PHC the practitioners apply evidence-based techniques and strategies adhering to their profession's ethical standards of practice.
Members of the School Team
As members of a multidisciplinary school team each of the disciplines collaborate with students, parents and school personnel on the child's performance in the school setting. The therapists will select, administer and interpret a variety of discipline-specific evaluations. Participation in the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or "504" process is pivotal produce a multidisciplinary and comprehensive plan for the student. Each of the disciplines provides discipline-specific skilled intervention which may include adapting environments to promote access and participation for the student within the school environment. Each therapist is involved in documenting outcomes of their skilled intervention for program evaluation and to assist with treatment planning. More detailed discipline-specific information is outlined below.
Occupational Therapist (O.T.) provides services that enable children and youth to organize, manage and perform everyday activities that are important for success in the school setting. (AOTA.org)
In the school setting, the Occupational Therapy promotes performance skills that underlie function such as fine motor skills, motor planning, sensory processing, sensory-perceptual skills, emotional regulation, cognitive and social skills. The O.T. is interested in collaboration with the child to develop habits and routines for school success. To promote success, O.T. analyzes environmental factors including the physical, social, temporal or technology factors that influence the child's performance. Solutions to problems are individualized to the student's distinct factors. O.T.'s in the school may be involved in the following activities:
- Build independence skills in self-care, pre-academic skills including pre-writing and pre-scissors
- Train students and staff on self-regulation, social participation, transitions between activities/environments, and play skills.
- Train students, school staff, and families on the management of the student's sensory needs to enhance participation and engagement in learning
- Consult about assistive devices, switches, and toys to support participation and performance
- Consult about curriculum accommodations, modifications, and adaptations to promote success
- Educate school personnel on handling and positioning techniques
- Collaborate with school staff on development and implementation of positive behavioral support systems.
- Make recommendations for Universal Design for learning strategies
"Physical therapists are members of a school team that ensures a free and appropriate education for students with disabilities to prepare them for future education, employment, and independent living" (APTA.org).
Physical therapists (P.T.)in the school setting promote motor development and support a child's ability to participate in activities that are part of the student's school program. In the school setting the Physical Therapist may:
- Consult and education school staff and families on the impact of motor problems on school performance.
- Instruction on safe lifting, positioning, assistive ambulation devices, gross motor programs, and equipment use.
- Select, modify and customize adaptive equipment
- Support safe transportation of students.
- Liaison among school, medical personnel, and medical vendors
Therapeutic Recreation is the purposeful facilitation of leisure experience and the development of the individualized and environmental supports to assist the child in meeting their leisure goals and aspirations.
In the school setting, Therapeutic Recreation is a "related service" under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The Therapeutic Recreation Therapist helps the school student and youth use their leisure time constructively. In the school setting the Therapeutic Recreation Therapist may:
- Provision of Therapeutic recreations intervention services
- Consult and education school staff and families on skills, knowledge, and attitudes for meaningful leisure involvement.
- Collaborate with afterschool programs, community parks and recreation centers, summer camps, youth development programs for extracurricular activities
- Support transition age students to use community recreation resources on their own