The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines “related services” as any supportive service provided to a child with a disability that helps the child access and/or receive a benefit from special education.
A multidisciplinary team works in conjunction with educators, behavioral analysts and technicians to help provide students the tools they need to be successful within the school environment. The related services team at Pathways includes occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, speech language pathologists, physical therapists, adapted physical educators, nurses, and art instructors.
In the school setting, physical therapy focuses on tasks that relate to the educational needs of the student. The emphasis of school-based physical therapy is to help students in the academic environment and participate in educationally related activities as part of their IEP. Physical therapists are responsible for:
- Evaluating and treating students with disabilities
- Maintaining daily progress and attendance records
- Writing progress reports
- Attending IEP meetings
- Recommending adaptive equipment, environmental accommodations, or assistive technology
- Supervision of Physical Therapy Assistants (PTAs) in implementing treatment
- Referring students to other related service personnel and to health care providers as
- Serving as a liaison among school, medical personnel, and medical equipment vendors
As a member of the IEP team, physical therapists design and implement physical therapy interventions—including teaching and training of family and educational staff—to help the student achieve his/her IEP goal. Physical therapy services include activities that address:
- Functional mobility skills (independent and/or assisted walking on level and un-level surfaces, stairs, ramps, etc.)
- Access to the school environment—including the classroom, hallways, and playground (age appropriate)
- Utilizing appropriate assistive devices
- Transfers (getting in and out of classroom chair, up and down from the floor)
School-based occupational therapy is designed to enhance the student’s ability to be successful within the special education program. Our occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistants support academic and non-academic outcomes, including social skills, math, reading and writing (i.e., literacy), behavior management, recess, participation in sports, self-help skills, independent living skills, prevocational/ vocational participation, transportation, and more.
In-School nursing services are designed to promote optimal physical, social, and emotional wellness of the school community. The focus is to enhance the educational process by maximizing and promoting health and wellness of all students. Pathways nurses provide direct skilled nursing, routine first aid, health screenings, medication administration and ensure students immunizations are up to date.
Speech Language Pathology
The role of the speech-language pathologist in the school setting includes assessment and intervention designed to facilitate functional communication for students across all environments. As part of the IEP team, speech-language pathologists provide direct (working with the student in an individual or group setting) and indirect (consulting with team members to provide support and carryover of strategies) services to address receptive and expressive language, functional communication, augmentative alternative communication, and speech production. Speech-language pathologists provide training for school staff, teachers, other related services providers, family and caregivers, as well as outside support staff regarding communication strategies to be implemented throughout a student’s home and school environments to maximize generalization and carryover of communication for daily interactions.
Physical Education Program
The goal of this program is to have students develop the tools necessary to lead a healthy and physically fit life. Classes focus on individual fitness skills, group activities, sports-related ball skills as well as the social skills necessary to participate in recreational pursuits. Skills are taught at our student’s individual pace and ability level.
Our mission is to improve fitness levels of every child at Pathways in a fun learning environment, as well as encouraging families to make fitness a priority in their lives. Our team also supports the development of skills for the students’ participation in Special Olympics, either as individuals or as part of our team, Pathways Patriots.
In Pathways Art Class, students learn about the work of famous artists, historical, cross-curricular, and cultural connections as well as different art-making methods and materials. Students are encouraged to make their own decisions about their art and use their original ideas.
As the parent of a child with autism, we are so grateful to be part of the Pathways community. The teachers are amazing, and it’s great to be in the company of other parents with the same challenges.Parents of a Pathways participant