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Occupational/Physical Therapy

Education Based Therapy (EBT)
Eligibility & Referral for Occupational/Physical Therapy


School based occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) are related services which support students with disabilities to facilitate their independence, success and safety in the educational environment.  Students who are eligible for Special Education services may be referred by the ARD committee (Admission, Review & Dismissal committee) for an OT and/or PT evaluation.  Findings from the evaluation will be presented to the ARD committee which is responsible for making final determinations regarding the implementation of therapy related services.  Therapy related services are provided to assist a student in reaching their IEP (Individualized Education Program) objectives as set by the ARD committee.


A referral for OT and/or PT services should be considered by the ARD committee after the school staff has tried modifications and support services “available to all students, such as tutorial, remedial, compensatory, and other services” (Refer to §89.1011. Referral for Full and Individual Initial Evaluation; without success in areas of fine motor, gross motor, self-care skills, positioning for function and/or safety, mobility, environmental adaptations and transitional skills. 


Referral for a therapy related services evaluation may be appropriate for students who evidence one or more of the following characteristics which interferes with their ability to perform in the school setting:


Difficulty holding head and/or body upright
Difficulty assuming and maintaining sitting and/or standing without physical assistance
Difficulty with mobility, walking, or maneuvering in a manner that limits independence or significantly impacts ability to perform in the classroom or on campus

Difficulty using arms and hands in manipulative tasks
Severe eye-hand coordination difficulties (cutting, copying, and writing)
Difficulties with oral motor function (chewing, sucking, swallowing, and drooling)
Dependence at school with self care skills (self-feeding, dressing, etc.)


Based on state and professional licensing laws, a prescription (also referred to as a medical or medical order) for physical therapy services must be obtained from a “qualified healthcare practitioner licensed by the appropriate licensing board, who within the scope of the professional licensure is authorized to prescribe treatment of individuals…qualifying referral sources includes physicians, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists, physician assistants, and advanced nurse practitioners.” (§322.1.Provision of Services: PT Act and Rules before an OT and/or PT evaluation or treatment can occur.


Occupational therapy services may or may not require a prescription depending on the treatment and medical condition of the individual being served as well as depending on the facility’s policy.  “Treatment for a medical condition by an OT requires a referral from a licensed referral source” where as “consultation, monitored services, and evaluation for need of services may be provided without a referral” as well as “non-medical conditions….however a referral must be requested at any time…when necessary to insure the safety and welfare of the consumer”. (§372.1 Provision of Services: OT Rules


Florence ISD requires a medical order prior to a PT and/or OT evaluation and a current medical to be maintained throughout the course of treatment to “insure the safety and welfare of the consumer” (§372.1 Provision of Services: OT Rules