The roles of the Occupational Therapist (OT) and Physiotherapist (PT) are closely inter-twined when working with children because both address developmental activities. OT's and PT's work with students to enhance performance in the classroom, on the playground or during gym class, and at home. Of all educational personnel, OT's and PT's are generally the best trained to evaluate and intervene when a student's primary needs include development of skills to dress, toilet, eat, or move around safely in the school environment.


Currently one OT and one PT service students in School District #20. Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy are provided to students as part of a coordinated team of individuals. As well as the student and parents, members of the team may include: District Psychologist, Speech-Language Pathologist, Teacher of the Deaf, School Counsellors, District Challenge Teacher, OT, and PT.


The Physiotherapist is responsible for functional areas that include mobility, such as ambulation, transportation, wheelchair skills, and gross motor skills involved in range of motion, trunk control, and balance. PT programs are designed to enhance access within the educational environment and inclusion opportunities for the student.


The Occupational Therapist is responsible for functional areas that include activities for daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and toileting, and fine motor skills involved in handwriting and manipulating small objects. OT programs are designed specifically to enhance access to curriculum and inclusion opportunities for the student. An important part of OT in the school setting is analysis of visual perception and motor skills, and how they influence a student's ability to learn. This analysis is pertinent when assisting teachers with modifying work expectations to enable success.


Overview of the OT/PT Service

  1. Referral received
  2. Student observed; initial assessment conducted
  3. Individual program developed, written, and copies made for school, home and files
  4. Program instructed to appropriate personnel, reviewed regularly and changed as needed
  5. Equipment needs addressed
  6. Student's progress and programs monitored regularly; reassessment as necessary
  7. Annual progress note written on each student

Additional responsibilities:

  • program planning and development, formulating goals and objectives for Individual Education Plans (IEP's)
  • attending IEP meetings, SET BC meetings and needs, Student Support Services meetings, Orthotics Clinic, Seating Clinic, Transition meetings for students entering the district
  • tracking down, organizing, transporting, ordering, training, cleaning and accounting for various pieces of equipment
  • home visits when necessasry
  • writing letters for funding, equipment, and medical information
  • liaising with colleagues, equipment suppliers and team members

The OT and PT in School District #20 have adopted a client/family centered appraoch.


Primary Therapist Model



Occupational Therapist: feeding, fine motor, ADL's (dressing, toileting, grooming), perception, learning, work expectation, seating/positioning, splinting, assistive technology, seating clinic, orthotic clinic


Physiotherapist: movement program, gross motor, back care, lifting and transferring education for support personnel, adapted PE, equipment, accessibility, transfers/seating, respiratory care, pool program, seating clinic, orthotic clinic

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