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Physical Therapy Team

Shawna Sterneker PT 

Jessica Ohler PT

Alicia Sanders PTA

The Physical Therapy team works to improve students' access to the school environment and gross motor skills.

The focus of school-based therapy is not rehabilitative in nature, but viewed as needed educational support for students.  For students to receive physical therapy services in the school setting, services must have “educational relevance.” Services must be necessary for the student to participate in his/her special education program, and/or to access the educational environment and curriculum. Physical therapy must work on skills that are necessary for the student to participate in the school setting. For example, these skills may include:

  • balance and stamina to sit in a classroom chair and work for an appropriate amount of time, or a therapist may provide recommendations for adaptations to the environment (such as the chair) to appropriately support the student.

  • mobility in the school environment, such as walking inside and outside without falling, navigating stairs/curbs safely, opening doors, maintaining balance while carrying things such as a lunch tray, or using playground equipment.

  • mobility in the school environment for students who use wheelchairs: propelling the wheelchair on level surfaces and ramps, turning and maneuvering the wheelchair in classrooms, moving out of the wheelchair to another chair (or vice versa) with or without help from another person, etc.

  • participation in classroom activities or physical education class, such as jumping, galloping, hopping, skipping, throwing and catching balls, and balance skills.

  • Sensory processing - how students interpret and integrate information they receive from their senses (vestibular system, touch, sights, sounds, taste).

  • The PT may also make recommendations for equipment that will help students access the educational environment or be more independent and functional.