Physical Therapist

Content Area 1: The Context of Therapy Practice in Schools

1. Knowledge of the structure, global goals, and responsibilities of the public education system, including special education
  • diagram the functional and supervisory organization of the education system served by the therapist
  • identify the goals and outcomes of the educational curriculum from preschool through high school
  • demonstrate an understanding of the eventual goals of independent living and working
  • apply knowledge of the outcomes-based education curriculum
2. Knowledge of federal (for example IDEA, Rehabilitation act of 1973, and ADA), state, and local laws and regulations that affect the delivery of services to students with disabilities
  • discuss the implications of the laws (national, state, local)
  • apply the guidelines of federal, state, and local regulations
  • identify and use information sources for federal, state, and local legislation and regulation changes
  • discuss and demonstrate professional behavior regarding ethical and legal responsibilities
  • discuss professional competencies as defined by professional organizations and state regulations
  • advocate to support services related to educational entitlements
3. Knowledge of the theoretical and functional orientation of a variety of professionals serving students within the educational system
  • initiate dialogue with colleagues to exchange professional perspectives
  • disseminate information about the availability of therapy services, criteria for eligibility, and methods of referral
  • describe evaluations and interventions commonly used by psychologists, diagnostic educators, classroom teachers, speech and language pathologists, adaptive physical educators, nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and professionals in other education and health-related disciplines
4. Assist students in accessing community organizations, resources, and activities
  • demonstrate awareness of cultural and social differences that relate to family and student participation in the education program
  • in collaboration with the educational team, develop a plan for transition into community activities or adult services
  • identify the need to make appropriate student referrals to community therapy and recreational services when school services are not able to meet all the child's needs
  • include the family in the educational process
  • serve as a resource to family and other team members for information and appropriate community resources (medical, educational, financial, social, recreational, and legal)

Content Area 2: Wellness and Prevention in Schools

1. Implement school-wide screening program with school nurses, physical education teachers, and teachers
  • apply knowledge of risk factors affecting growth, development, and learning
  • identify the etiology, signs, symptoms, and classification of common pediatric disabilities
  • identify established biological and environmental factors that affect children's development and learning
  • select, administer, and interpret a variety of screening instruments and standardized measurement tools
2. Promote child safety and wellness using knowledge of environmental safety measures
  • maintain CPR certification
  • institute an environmental hazards and accident prevention plan
  • recognize child neglect and abuse

Content Area 3: Team Collaboration

1. Form partnerships and work collaboratively with other team members, especially the teacher to promote an effective plan of care
  • demonstrate effective communication and interpersonal skills
  • refer and coordinate services among family, school professionals, medical service providers, and community agencies
  • implement strategies for team development and management
  • develop mechanism for ongoing team coordination
2. Function as a consultant
  • identify the administrative and interpersonal factors that influence the effectiveness of a consultant
  • implement effective consultative strategies
  • provide technical assistance to other school team members, community agencies, and medical providers
3. Educate school personnel and family to promote the inclusion of the student within the educational experience
  • assist school administrators with development of policy and procedures
  • provide orientation to teachers and classroom aides
  • conduct in-service sessions
  • develop informational resources
4. Supervise personnel and professional students
  • apply effective strategies of supervision
  • monitor the implementation of therapy recommendations by other team members
  • establish a student clinical affiliation
  • formally and informally teach or train therapy staff
5. Serve as an advocate for students, families, and school
  • attend public hearings
  • serve on task forces or decision-making committees
  • provide necessary information to support student rights
  • actively participate in IEP process

Content Area 4: Examination and Evaluation in Schools

1. Identify strengths and needs of students
  • interview student, family, teachers, and other relevant school personnel
  • gather information from medical personnel and records
  • observe student in a variety of educational settings
2. Collaboratively determine examination and evaluation process
  • designate appropriate professional disciplines
  • identify environments and student activities and routines
  • select instruments
  • establish format for conducting examination
  • inform and prepare the student
3. Determine student's ability to participate in meaningful school activities by examining and evaluating
  • level of participation and necessary assistance and adaptations through formal naturalistic observations
  • functional abilities including gross motor, fine motor, perceptual motor, cognitive, social and emotional, and ADL
  • impairments related to functional ability including musculoskeletal status, neuromotor organization, sensory function, and cardiopulmonary status
4. Utilize valid, reliable, cost-effective, and nondiscriminatory instruments for
  • identification and eligibility
  • diagnostic purposes
  • individual program planning
  • documentation of progress

Content Area 5: Planning

1. Actively participate in the development of the Individualized Education Plan
  • determine eligibility related to a student's educational program
  • accurately interpret and communicate examination findings collaboratively with family, student, and other team members
  • discuss prognosis of student performance related to curricular expectations
  • discuss and prioritize outcomes related to student's educational needs based on current and future environmental demands and student and family preferences and goals
  • offer appropriate recommendations for student placement and personnel needs in the least restrictive educational setting with intent to serve children in inclusive environments
  • in collaboration with the team, determine how therapy can contribute to the development of an individualized educational program (IEP) including
    • meaningful student outcomes
    • functional and measurable goals and objectives
    • therapy service recommendations
    • specific intervention methods and strategies
    • determination of frequency, intensity, and duration
  • develop mechanism for ongoing coordination and collaboration regarding the IEP
    • implementation of the IEP
    • updating or modifying the IEP
    • transition planning and implementation of the transition plan
    • interagency activities

Content Area 6: Intervention

1. Adapt environments to facilitate student access to and participation in student activities
  • recommend adaptive equipment, assistive technology, and environmental adaptations
  • monitor adaptive equipment, assistive technology, and environmental adaptations
  • be able to instruct student and other team members in the appropriate use of adaptive equipment and assistive technology
  • identify sources for obtaining, maintaining, repairing, and financing adaptive equipment, assistive technology, and environmental adaptations
2. Use various types and methods of service provision for individualized student interventions
  • direct, individual, group, integrated, consultative, monitoring, and collaborative approaches
  • develop generic instruction plans and intervention plans that select and sequence strategies to meet the objectives listed on the student's IEP
3. Promote skill acquisition, fluency, and generalization to enhance overall development, learning, and student participation
  • use creative problem-solving strategies to meet the student's needs
  • explain basic motor learning theories, and relate them to therapy education programs
  • address neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, sensory processing, and cardiopulmonary functions that support motor, social, emotional, cognitive, and language skills
4. Imbed therapy interventions into the context of student activities and routines
  • implement appropriate positioning, mobility, environmental, and ADL strategies into curriculum, classroom schedule and routines
  • develop a matrix integrating objectives, routines and activities, and strategies

Content Area 7: Documentation

1. Produce useful written documentation by
  • writing reports in commonly understood and meaningful terms
  • maintaining timely and consistent records
  • concisely summarizing relevant information
  • sharing records with family and other team members
2. Collaboratively monitor and modify student's IEP
  • establish a mechanism for and record ongoing communication with family and other team members
  • establish a plan of action for reevaluation
  • schedule pre-established team meetings to review student progress over the course of the school year
3. Evaluate and document the effectiveness of therapy programs
  • establish baseline of student's level of participation and functional status
  • collect ongoing data on the student's progress toward stated IEP outcomes
  • summarize data to determine student's progress

Content Area 8: Administrative Issues in Schools

1. Demonstrate flexibility, priority setting, and effective time management strategies
2. Obtain resources and data necessary to justify establishing a new therapy program or altering existing program
3. Serve as a leader
  • integrate knowledge of education, health, and social trends that impact therapy services
  • identify and educate others about the overall roles, responsibilities, and functions of therapy services
  • identify and differentiate characteristics of alternative approaches for resolving needs for therapy services
  • identify the administrative needs of the therapy service within the school setting
  • serve as a role model to other therapists regarding professional responsibilities
4. Serve as a manager
  • develop and analyze job descriptions for therapists
  • implement a recruitment, orientation, mentorship, and professional development program for therapists and staff
  • develop and implement policies and procedures to guide therapy services
  • establish therapy caseloads and staffing needs
  • evaluate the performance of therapy personnel
  • plan and implement  a therapy quality assurance plan and program evaluation
  • participate in the assessment of school facilities and educational activities
  • make recommendations, especially related to ensuring accessibility to and reasonable accommodations in school environments
  • identify and use appropriate school, home, community, state, and national resources, especially funding sources
  • demonstrate the ability to plan and manage a budget for the therapy component of services

Content Area 9: Research

1. Demonstrate knowledge of current research relating to child development, medical care, educational practices, and implications for therapy
  • conduct a literature review
  • seek assistance from experienced researchers in interpreting published research
  • critically evaluate published research
2. Apply knowledge of research to the selection of therapy intervention strategies, service delivery systems, and therapeutic procedures
  • use objective criteria for evaluation
  • justify rationale for clinical decision making
  • expand clinical treatment case reports into single-subject studies
3. Partake in program evaluation and clinical research activities with the appropriate supervision
  • identify research topics
  • secure resources to support clinical research
  • implement clinical research projects
  • disseminate research findings