What does Physical Therapy in the School look like?

Physical therapy in the school is quite different from “medical” physical therapy. When most people think of physical therapy, they picture treatments designed to decrease pain, and assist in recovery of strength, mobility, and function following an injury or illness. PT in the school focuses on helping children improve physical/motor skills which allow them to more easily access their education. 

My most important role is to help students improve their core strength and postural control. By increasing the strength of the abdominal, back, neck, hip, and shoulder muscles, students improve their stability and the base of support from which they do their classroom work. With a strong base of support, skills like writing, cutting, copying from the board, and accurately following written words on a page are accomplished more easily.

 With a strong, stable core, gross motor skills which are addressed in Physical Therapy can be learned more easily.

 These skills include, but are not limited to:

  • static balance -  balance in one place, as in standing on one foot
  • dynamic balance  - balance as you move about, like crossing a balance beam
  • eye-hand coordination – playing catch
  • bilateral coordination - using both sides of the body together, needed for jumping jacks
  • agility – moving quickly while changing direction or avoiding obstacles – think of  running in and out of a row of cones
  • muscular endurance – important for maintaining an upright posture throughout the school day