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Occupational and Physical Therapy

Occupational and Physical Therapy Services

St. Mary's County Public Schools provides Occupational Therapy (OT) and Physical Therapy (PT) services to as related services to special education in order for students to benefit from their special education program. OTs and PTs are knowledgeable about how the body works and the developmental process. OTs and PTs following the educational model focus their therapy on assisting the student to function and learn in the school environment. The extent and appropriateness of therapy service(s) must be related to the educational needs of the student, rather than the medical needs. The table below shows the individual and shared aspects of Occupational and Physical Therapy.

OT Focus and Goals Shared Areas of Expertise PT Focus and Goals
School-based OTs address the students learning potential and ability to interact with the environment through the use of functional, goal oriented activities.
  • Positioning Techniques
  • Handling techniques
  • Transfers
  • Range of motion
  • Adaptive equipment
  • Seating options
  • Postural control
  • Reflex integration
School-based PTs address the needs of students whose physical disability, motor deficit, and/or developmental delay interfere with the learning process and physical management of the school environment.
Goals may address:
  • Fine motor skills
  • Fine motor coordination
  • Self-care skills
  • Visual/perceptual skills
  • Sensory Integration
  • Oral motor skills
Goals may address:
  • Gross motor skills
  • Ambulation
  • Gait training
  • General mobility
  • Accessibility/Emergency
  • Evacuation

Frequently Asked Questions

How are services determined in schools?

The Frequency and duration of therapy services are recommended by the IEP Team and based upon present levels of performance, goals and objectives.

How are services delivered in schools?

Services may be delivered through a variety of models that may include:

  • Consultation with parents and school staff;
  • Periodic monitoring of program needs;
  • Recommendations for adaptive equipment or compensatory strategies for successful functioning within school;
  • Training of school personnel working directly with the student; and/or
  • Direct services by a therapist.

How do students become eligible for OT and/or PT Services?

Students who may be in need of services are referred through the screening process that is completed by the student's case manager. An OT/PT will review the screening document, complete a screening and make a recommendation for assessment to the IEP Team. Upon review of the screening documentation, the IEP Team may recommend an assessment to address the areas of concern. The results of the assessment will be reviewed at an IEP Team meeting for consideration of OT/PT services.

Downloadable SMCPS OT/PT Brochure

Downloadable MSDE OT/PT Brochure

For more information about the SMCPS OT/PT Team, please contact:

Cynthia Kilcoyne, Supervisor of Special Education
(301) 475-5511 x32218