Judy Carroll & Gail Svagera
Occupational Therapists (OT) and occupational therapy assistants are part of the education team. In the school, an OT works with the team to help determine student annual goals, the supports, modifications, and accommodations that are necessary to help the student fulfill the role of student. OTs design intervention programs which include assistive technology or adaptive equipment to 1) increase arm and hand function 2) improve feeding, eating, and toileting skills, 3) improve seating and positioning 4) improve access to the school environments and materials and 5) help identify long-term goals for post-school outcomes, so that a student may participate in desired daily life activities or "occupations." An OT also provides training for students, staff and parents to achieve each student's success. for more information about occupational therapy please visit these websites www.aota.org or www.unmc.edu/mmi.
Physical therapy is a related service for special education in the school setting. Physical therapists (PT) work with the students, their families and the classroom staff to design a movement program that fits in the daily routine of the classroom and works on the skills that the team (parents, teacher, staff and PT) decides are most important for that particular student. The classroom staff carries out the program on a daily or weekly basis. The movement program may include gross motor skills , positioning options, exercise activities, and recommendation of adaptive equipment such as wheelchairs, standers, walkers, and braces. PT's provide instruction to students, staff, and parents to help the student develop his movement skills to his fullest potential.
Working with Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems/devices comprises much of the duties of the Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) at J. P. Lord School. AAC devices allow nonverbal students to communicate with others. The students at J. P. Lord use a variety of devices, such as the BIGmack switches, the Jelly Bean switches, Partner 4-8, Step by Steps and others to communicate. The SLP at J. P. Lord also works with teachers in developing communication goals and objectives for each student's Individual Educational Plan (IEP). She/he also sends devices in for repairs, negotiates for replacement devices, changes batteries and helps program devices when necessary.