Learning Through Relationships

Physical Therapy

We have grown from two physical therapists to a department of six since the start of Rebecca School. We assist students in developing their gross motor skills primarily through play. We believe play is a universal language and through it we build rich, therapeutic relationships with our students. DIR®/ Floortime™ provides us with the foundation necessary to engage our students in the most purposeful and thoughtful play based on where they are functioning with regard to their developmental capacities, how we may best support their individual differences and deepening the therapeutic relationship. Physical Therapists at Rebecca School use a variety of treatments to help build muscle strength, improve a child/young adult’s ability to move through their environment, and strengthen skills needed to complete daily activities. At Rebecca School, physical therapists might guide kids through: developmental activities, such as rolling, crawling and walking, as well as balance and coordination activities. We utilize obstacle courses to help our students improve their motor planning abilities, that is, their ability to create an idea, sequence the necessary steps and execute their plan. We work very closely with our OTs, SLPs, teachers, assistant teachers and mental health clinicians to provide the best intervention for each student. Physical therapists may push into a classroom to provide individualized support to a student during a movement group, adaptive physical education (APE) or other classroom activity to set them up for success. We may also pull students out of their classroom and provide treatment in a sensory gym, APE gym, hallway, rooftop playground, stairwell or in the community. To ensure carryover of all this work at home, our therapists communicate with our families once a month in addition to the Movement of the Month initiative. Each month we focus on one movement that correlates to a developmental motor milestone. Many of our students met these milestones late and have not solidified them. This program allows the students to practice these movements in the school environment and at home with the goal of strengthening their motor skills and, thus, their overall development. A letter is sent home with an explanation of the movement, its importance, how to help the student perform the movement and how to modify the movement if needed so that families may try these movements at home.