Physical Therapy in the school setting is a related service provided by a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant licensed by the Texas Board of PT Examiners.  The purpose of physical therapy is to develop or restore neuromuscular and or sensory-motor function, control postural deviations to minimize disabilities, and to develop and maintain performance levels within an individual’s capabilities. According to the Texas Board of PT Examiners, a prescription for physical therapy must be obtained before direct services can begin. 

PT Prescription Form

A pediatric physical therapist has knowledge of normal development and patterns of movement and is uniquely qualified to address gait, and gross motor skill development in children with special needs. 

The physical therapist in the educational setting provides educationally related screening, evaluation, treatment, consultation, in-service education for school personnel and community, and total program planning for students if their impairments are negatively impacting their ability to access their education. A child who may benefit from PT in the clinical setting might not be eligible for school based PT based on educational needs.  This is because physical therapy services are directly linked to a student’s IEP, (Individualized Education Plan), and must support the development and
maintenance of the student’s physical potential for independence
in all educationally related activities.

Educationally relevant PT Services may include:

  • Gross Motor Skill Development-generally provided in the preschool setting to promote participation and safety in the classroom and on the playground.
  • Positioning-in order to support the student in the most optimal posture for learning and to provide a variety of positional experiences throughout the school day.
  • Ambulation Training-training with or without assistive devices to promote a student’s independence and ability to access their educational environment.
  • Mobility Training- manual and or power wheelchair training to obtain maximal independent mobility within the educational environment
  • Transfer Skills-to permit the student to manage transfer activities for self care and, in order to attain optimal independence in the educational setting.
  • Addressing architectural barriers, transportation needs, and evacuation plans

Who Receives Physical Therapy services in the schools?

Physical Therapy (PT) is a related service under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004), and is provided to help a student with a disability to benefit from special education.  As such, PT is a supportive service.  If a child has a disability, as defined by IDEA 2004, and needs special education and related services to meet unique learning needs, then he/she might be eligible for PT services.  The child must be eligible for special education before being considered for PT services in the schools under IDEA 2004.  Referral for a PT evaluation is a team decision.  Eligibility for special education does not mean automatic eligibility for related services, including PT.  The need for Physical Therapy services as well as frequency and location of services is reviewed, as appropriate, by the IEP team.

Disclaimer: The resources that can be accessed with links connecting to sources other than the website,, are not maintained by Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District. Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District is not responsible for the contents of any such resources. The existence of a link should not be assumed as an endorsement by Grapevine-Colleyville Independent School District.


Kellie Shay, PT
Licensed Physical Therapist
(817) 251-6888 x 2926

Madyson Drye, PT
Licensed Physical Therapist
(817) 251-6888 x 2927