Q & A
Parents or guardians should first contact their child’s teacher or local school to speak with the designated person regarding testing for eligibility for special education. Upon receiving written consent for evaluation from the child’s parent or guardian, a Full Individual and Initial Evaluation (FIE) must be completed within 45 school days, unless certain special circumstances apply.
An Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee meeting is then held within 30 calendar days of the date of the FIE to review testing results and determine eligibility for special education.
If appropriate, the ARD committee develops a specialized program designed to meet the child’s individual needs, which may include related services such as occupational therapy, physical therapy and music therapy. This program is called the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Evaluation for related services is sometimes included in the initial FIE but in many instances occurs later, once the child’s ARD committee members have an opportunity to assess how the child is performing in his or her educational program.
The child’s IEP is reviewed annually, and eligibility for special education is reviewed and/or assessed no less than every three years.
If a child is eligible for special education, therapies such as occupational therapy, physical therapy and music therapy may be needed to support a student’s progress on the IEP. Special education law terms these services “related services.” Decisions about these related services are made by members of the Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) Committee and rely heavily on a thorough evaluation of the child’s needs by a therapy professional. Parents are integral members of these committees and work together with school personnel to make decisions in the best interest of the student.
Our therapy services are provided wherever and whenever school-age children receive their education. Therapists support children and their teachers in a variety of ways, including working directly with children in classrooms, playgrounds, cafeterias and other locations during their normal daily school routines. Therapists also provide consultation and training to a child’s teaching staff so that therapeutic strategies and techniques can be carried out consistently, every day, by every professional who works with the child.
HCDE occupational therapist in Cy-Fair ISD
Jose is a young student with difficulty learning. He could focus on school tasks only about 30-45 seconds due to his autism. Jose’s occupational therapist showed Jose’s teacher how to add physical movement into his learning activities. For example, when Jose was sorting by color, red items were placed on the teacher’s desk and blue objects were placed in a basket on the opposite side of the classroom. This change allowed Jose to stay on task close to 20 minutes! Occupational therapists often problem-solve with teaching staff on ways to get and keep students engaged in learning. This HCDE School-Based Therapy Services occupational therapist identified a barrier to Jose’s learning and collaborated with his teacher to redesign the task so Jose could be successful!
HCDE physical therapist in Houston ISD
Shelly has physical disabilities that prevented her from sitting with her peers in her classroom. Shelly’s physical therapist helped Shelly teach those adults around her to safely transfer her into a classroom chair so she could sit with her classmates. HCDE School-Based Therapy Services physical therapists make sure students who are unable to walk have safe and appropriate mobility options at school to increase their participation. They also help students advocate for themselves, helping them become more independent!
HCDE music therapist in Cy-Fair ISD
Marcus is a middle school student with language difficulties. Under the guidance of a HCDE School-Based Therapy Services music therapist, a music therapy intern demonstrated using specially selected songs as prompts to help him improve his use of language. Music therapists routinely use and provide a variety of musical strategies designed to effectively gain students’ interest in learning and facilitate the development and use of critical new skills.
HCDE occupational therapist in Houston ISD
Students in Ms. Johnson’s middle school LIFE skills classroom were having difficulty using scissors effectively to cut out shapes. The HCDE School-Based Therapy Services occupational therapist identified a need for practicing this skill and demonstrated how cutting out coupons for an upcoming fieldtrip made cutting very motivating to the students. Occupational therapists know that making activities meaningful for students raises their interest level and cooperation, resulting in more effective learning!
HCDE physical therapist in Tomball ISD
When Charles, a student with mobility issues, started high school, his physical therapist taught him to use a school map to locate his classrooms, the cafeteria and gym and helped him practice safely navigating these routes. HCDE School-Based Therapy Services physical therapists help students become more mobile and independent while ensuring their safety.