Therapy Services in Schools for Special Needs Kids
Is your child receiving therapy in a center or at home to work on his gross and fine motor skills, speech and language development, social skills, or addressing some behavioral issues? Are you finding it challenging to help your child transfer and generalize everything he has learned to the real world, especially at school where he spends 50% or more of his time during the day?
In certain schools, therapy services have been introduced within the school environment. In most cases, this has made a positive impact on a child's integration in the classroom and helped to generalize acquired skills.
Some schools have their own support staff and therapists, while others resource outside agencies to provide therapy in schools during school hours. Therapy can be provided inside the classroom (push in), outside the classroom (pull out), or a combination of both. Therapy can sometimes be provided as a consultation service to the teachers, who in turn will use strategies recommended to assist a child.
There are many benefits to having therapy in the schools:
- Therapy can provide a child with an environment in class that will maximize his strengths and assist with his weaknesses.
- Therapy in the school environment can use curriculum-related material that will be more relevant to his learning.
- Therapy can recommend specific equipment and strategies that will help the child in the classroom.
- The frequency of therapy in school can be greater as some parents lead busy lives and cannot always take their child to clinics after school hours.
- Therapy can facilitate and enhance social skills in an environment where children develop friendships.
If your child’s school provides therapy in the school, please read the following points which will guide you in making sure your child is benefiting from the services in school:
- School should be aware of your child’s current level of performance in the various areas of his development; a report from the specialists working with your child is helpful to outline strengths and areas that need further improvement.
- Parents should be aware of how the child’s difficulties are impacting his learning abilities.
- School should provide an appropriate environment for the therapy to take place in.
- It would be helpful for therapists to have permission to enter the classrooms for observation or for providing direct intervention at times.
- The child’s targets and intervention plans should be agreed on by all those involved. For an older child, make sure the child is involved in the process of discussing and setting goals/targets.
- Meetings between parents, therapists, and school staff should be held on a regular basis to track progress.
- There should be a clear and open communication level between therapists working in the school and the child’s outside therapist.
Parents should discuss their child’s needs with the school and therapists to help determine what the best environment is for their child to receive intervention to maximize their overall development.