SSPS:Physical TherapyEligibility

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Physical Therapy Definition

1. A student who requires physical therapy is one who requires a specially prescribed program directed toward the development, improvement, or restoration of neuromuscular or sensorimotor function, relief of pain, or control of postural deviations to attain functional performance in the educational setting.


2. A student is eligible for physical therapy if the he/she presents with at least one of the following:

  • Identified physical impairments, motor deficits or developmental delays which significantly interfere with the achievement of functional learning
  • Muscular or neuromuscular conditions, skeletal deformities, trauma and physically debilitating conditions which limit the student’s ability to attain functional performance in the educational setting
  • A severe disability which substantially limits one (1) or more of the student’s major life activities


NOTE: Student must be currently receiving Exceptional Student Education (ESE) services or have a 504 Plan.


Procedures for Evaluation

Required Information and Evaluation Data

Physical Therapy is a related service available only to students already eligible for and receiving ESE services or who have a 504 Plan. Evaluation data must demonstrate that the student needs the related service to benefit from ESE. Refer to OT/PT Procedural Chart.


1. The primary ESE teacher contacts the guidance secretary regarding an ESE student who is exhibiting functional school related deficits addressed on the student’s current T/IEP. The student’s lack of adequate progress may indicate the need for Physical Therapy services.

NOTE: The area of concern must be mentioned in the T/IEP Present Level Statement with an accompanying appropriate goal(s), that has been implemented for at least one quarter.


2. For PT referrals, the guidance secretary gives the primary ESE teacher the Physical Therapy Screen. The primary ESE teacher completes and returns the form to the guidance secretary and notifies appropriate therapist, SCT/ESE Specialist and program supervisor via email that screening form has been submitted. PT Screen will be completed within 30 days of receipt.


3. The physical therapist reviews the information and discusses concerns with the primary ESE teacher. This information will be used to determine if the current T/IEP goals and objectives can be met without related services, or if related services may be necessary.


4. If the physical therapist determines a PT evaluation is indicated, the reevaluation process must be followed. See ESE:Reevaluation for additional information.

NOTE: For an initial ESE eligibility case for which related services are being considered, the initial evaluation process, not the reevaluation process, will be followed. This applies most often to PreK students and out-of-state transfer students.


5. The primary ESE teacher schedules a team meeting to discuss reevaluation options, at the request of the OT/PT to which the parents and all staff (including PT) working with the student are invited. If the student is age 16 or older, the student must be invited. All areas of eligibility are discussed and appropriate evaluations are recommended on a Team Recommendations Regarding Reevaluation form (MIS #809). Team should request the prescription for PT services at this meeting or when consent is obtained. As with any medical documentation requirement, the evaluation team must offer to cover expenses directly related to this evaluation component whenever assistance is requested.


6. Parent Permission to Conduct a Formal Reevaluation (MIS #444) is issued, signed and returned before an evaluation may be conducted.


7. Once the parent consent for reevaluation has been returned, the guidance secretary notifies therapist via email.


8. The guidance secretary initiates the Referral Checklist for OT/PT (MIS #777) and sets up an orange related services folder for each related service being considered. Data Entry form (MIS #729) is initiated with the referral date and related service information.


9. The therapist contacts the ESE teacher to establish a time to conduct the evaluation either at the student's school or the closest school which provides PT services.


10. The therapist notifies the primary ESE teacher and CRT/Compliance Specialist that the evaluation and data collection is complete and PT prescription is obtained. The file is reviewed by the CRT/Compliance Specialist for compliance prior to scheduling the ESE Staffing and T/IEP meeting.

Procedures for Determining Eligibility and Educational Placements

Procedures to follow if related services ARE recommended

1. A medical prescription indicating a need for therapy must be obtained from the student’s physician for physical therapy (MIS #732).


2. Therapist provides 1 copy of the evaluation to the Guidance Secretary. Therapist notifies the SCT/ESE Specialist that file is ready for review.


3. The guidance secretary, in conjunction with the PT, schedules an ESE Staffing and T/IEP revision meeting and invites parents and student, if applicable.

NOTE: A licensed therapist MUST attend the initial ESE Staffing and T/IEP meeting for his/her service.


4. ESE Staffing and T/IEP meeting is held with SCT/ESE Specialist. Discussion of the evaluation data occurs at the staffing meeting. Therapist provides 3 copies of the evaluation (parent, cume, and program file) to the SCT/ESE Specialist. Therapist and team adds related services to the program services page of the current T/IEP.

NOTE: The Exceptional Student Education Services Staffing (MIS #795) and Exceptional Student Education Informed Notice (MIS #757) are issued by SCT/ESE


5. Parent is provided a copy of all documents.


6. The SCT/ESE Specialist completes the data entry sheet (MIS #729) reflecting eligibility status.


7. Therapist submits schedule (date and time) of therapy service to school-based data entry operator within 7 days of T/IEP meeting.

Procedures to follow if related services ARE NOT recommended

1. Therapist provides 1 copy of evaluation to the Guidance Secretary. Therapist notifies the SCT/ESE Specialist that file is ready for review.


2. The guidance secretary, in conjunction with the OT/PT, schedules an ESE Staffing and T/IEP revision meeting and invites parents using Invitation to Staffing and/or Educational Plan Conference.

NOTE: A registered therapist MUST attend the initial ESE Staffing and T/IEP meeting for his/her service.


3. ESE Staffing is held with SCT/ESE Specialist. Discussion of the evaluation data occurs at the staffing meeting. Therapist provides 3 copies of the evaluation (parent, cume, and program file) to the SCT/ESE Specialist.

NOTE: The Exceptional Student Education Services Staffing (MIS #795) and Exceptional Student Education Informed Notice (MIS #757) are issued by SCT/ESE Specialist.


4. Parent is provided a copy of all documents.


5. The CRT/Compliance Specialist completes the data entry sheet (MIS #729) reflecting ineligibility status.

In-State Transfers

1. Students who have a current T/IEP indicating the receipt of Physical Therapy (PT) services will be transferred to our district.

NOTE: Therapist MUST must be part of the decision making process when determining if T/IEP will be accepted or revised. Present level statement, goals, benchmarks, and frequency of service may be revised based on data. This will be accompanied by issuance of an Informed Notice Regarding a Proposed Action with Related Services (MIS #797).


2. Guidance secretary/SCT/ESE Specialist (whomever issues the Transfer paperwork) notifies therapist, case manager and SCT/ESE Specialist via email of a new student upon receipt of T/IEP and/or evaluation records.


3. Therapist reviews records. Therapist must have a copy of an PT evaluation dated within three years from a Florida licensed physical therapist. A prescription for PT must be obtained from a Florida physician.


4. If an PT evaluation and/or prescription is not available, the guidance secretary will request the PT evaluation/prescription from the previous school / ESE department of the county / previous PT, or PT supervisor by either phone or fax. The therapist may also contact the previous school district to request additional information if a Release of Records (MIS #791) is on file.


5. In–State Transfer students without an PT evaluation/prescription must receive treatment from the physical therapist until an PT evaluation/prescription is received or an PT reevaluation is completed within 60 days and a prescription is obtained. Follow ESE District Procedures for reevaluation process. See ESE:Reevaluation for additional information.

Procedures for Out-of-State (OOS) Transfer Students

1. Students who have a current T/IEP indicating the receipt of physical therapy services will be transferred to the district. Case managers should use the Out-of-State Therapy Letter to notify parent(s) of medical documentation requirements for OOS transfers and to obtain written consent for therapy evaluation while the Florida evaluation process is initiated. Students are not transferred into physical therapy on the MIS #707.


2. These students must be brought to the In-School Staffing team to discuss any required evaluation(s) to meet eligibility guidelines for the state of Florida. In order for PT to serve a student, there must be a current evaluation (within three years) from a licensed Florida therapist. For ALL OOS transfer students, Consent for Evaluation (MIS #425) must be obtained prior to initiating the evaluation process, for any other evaluation, and before physical therapy eligibility is determined.

NOTE: All students receiving Physical Therapy must have a prescription prior to eligibility determination (MIS #732) from a licensed Florida physician.


3. When all requested evaluations are completed, the case manager notifies CRT/Compliance Specialists to review file and schedule ESE staffing and/or T/IEP meeting.


4. If therapist evaluation results/data and prescription indicate the need for Physical Therapy as related services, the student will meet eligibility criteria. The T/IEP is revised as necessary for related service of physical therapy. CRT/Compliance Specialsst revises MIS #729 (Data Entry Form) and issues MIS #795 and MIS #757.


5. If therapist evaluation results/data and prescription are incomplete or do not indicate the continued need for Physical Therapy, the student will be ineligible for the related service(s) during the ESE staffing.

Procedures for Non-Enrolled Child Find/PreK Students

1. FDLRS notifies therapist of the pending student using the Early Childhood Exceptional Student Education Student Referral. Whenever possible, the therapist should be given at least 7 days notice for the Pre-Transition meeting. The private evaluation must have occurred within one year of the request for educationally relevant PT services and must have been completed by a Florida licensed physical therapist. Refer to OT/PT Procedural Chart, Non-Enrolled/Child Find section. Additionally, if the student has an out of state evaluation or has recently transferred to Florida, the above rules for Out of State Transfer Students apply.


2. Non-enrolled PreK students who are transferring to educationally relevant therapies may have a private PT evaluation.


3. The therapist should prioritize attendance at Pre-Transition meetings. Attendance will ensure the opportunity to observe the child and begin to formulate educationally relevant goals.


4. The therapist has the option of certifying the private Florida PT evaluation if the determination is made that the child may be eligible for related services of PT. The OT/PT Transition Recommendation form will be filled out to indicate this decision.

  • The therapist also has the option of needing additional information to determine eligibility and/or to determine appropriate goals. Follow referral/evaluation procedures upon entry into school. This will be indicted on the OT/PT Transition Recommendation form.
  • The therapist may also determine through observation and/or relevant data review that the child is not appropriate for educationally relevant therapy. The OT/PT Transition Recommendation form should be filled out to indicate the choice.
  • When a student is found ineligible for PT during the PreK transition process and at a later date the teacher identifies concerns with a student, the ESE teacher will initiate the PT screen process. The therapist must complete the screening request within 30 days of receipt.
  • If the therapist determines additional information is necessary to make determination of eligibility, then the therapist will give general intervention suggestions that are educationally relevant for the classroom teacher to implement during the 60 day time period before the evaluation is completed.

5. Non-enrolled PreK students who are transferring to educationally relevant therapies may have had a private PT evaluation that is not available.

  • The therapist has the option of needing additional information to determine eligibility and/or to determine appropriate goals. Follow referral/evaluation procedures upon entry into school. This will be indicated on the OT/PT Transition Recommendation form.
  • The therapist may also determine through observation and/or data review that the child is not appropriate for educationally relevant therapy. The OT/PT Transition Recommendation form should be filled out to indicate this choice.

6. If the student has been referred for an additional evaluation and the private Florida PT evaluation becomes available before the end of the 60 day initial evaluation period, the therapist may elect to certify the evaluation and issue an Informed Notice that Evaluation is Not Required ([#824]).

Physical Therapy for Students Who Have a 504 Plan

Students who receive accommodations under a 504 Plan have specific rights to receive related services, if deemed educationally necessary by the 504 evaluation team, based on collected assessment data. The physical therapist needs to be part of the team making this recommendation. Refer to the 504 Plan with Consideration of OT and/or PT Services flowchart. Reference the 504 Related Services Wiki for procedures.

Procedures for Recommending Discontinuation

Students may be considered for discontinuation from Physical Therapy if they are functional in their educational setting and no longer demonstrate a need for related services of occupational and/or physical therapy to meet their educational goals. Refer to OT/PT Procedural Chart, Discontinuation section.


1. The therapist discusses with school team data to support recommendation for discontinuation from PT.


2. The therapist contacts parent to discuss data to support recommendation for discontinuation from PT. The therapist documents parent contact. This may be accomplished via a Parent Contact Log (MIS #713) and OT/PT reevaluation report.


3. The primary ESE teacher, in conjunction with the PT, schedules a T/IEP revision meeting to discuss reevaluation options, discontinuation or dismissal from PT, and invites parents using an Invitation to a Staffing or Educational Plan Meeting (MIS #762).

NOTE: A registered therapist MUST attend the discontinuation T/IEP meeting for his/her program.

4. At T/IEP meeting the team discusses and recommends any reevaluation data needed using MIS #809. MIS #444 (Consent for Reevaluation is competed if any reevaluations are recommended.

  • If no physical therapy reevaluation is recommended and parent is in attendance, proceed with discontinuation.
  • If no physical therapy reevaluation is recommended and parent is in not attendance, proceed with discontinuation with implementation 10 days from meeting date.
  • If no physical therapy reevaluation is recommended and parent is not in agreement, proceed with discontinuation with implementation 10 days from meeting date.


5. The therapist discontinues related services on the program services page of the current T/IEP and completes the Informed Notice Regarding a Proposed Action with Related Services (MIS #797). Revise reevaluation date of T/IEP as indicated.

NOTE: When a new T/IEP has been drafted and PT is being considered for discontinuation at the same time, PT eligibility and services are not placed on the new T/IEP. The Informed Notice of a Proposed Action with Related Services should be filed behind the new T/IEP (and in the PT file) as a supporting document explaining why services were not included.

NOTE: When the student is discontinued from PT services in conjunction with an discontinuation/dismissal staffing for an area of ESE, the Notice for Exceptional Student Education Service (MIS #757) will be issued instead of the Informed Notice Regarding a Proposed Action with Related Services.


6. The parent is provided a copy of all documents.

7. Therapist completes data entry revision form, PlanMaker is updated to reflect any T/IEP changes by case manager/therapist.


8. The therapist. case manager notifies CRT/Compliance Specialist that the file is ready for review.


9. The CRT/Compliance Specialist completes a final review of the student’s file for compliance and completes the Data Entry (MIS #729) and send copy of MIS #797 to district SSPS secretary.

Referenced Forms

OT/PT Procedural Chart

Physical Therapy Screen

OT/PT Procedures for Ineligibility

Invitation to Staffing and/or Educational Plan Conference (located in PEER)

Team Recommendations Regarding Reevaluation form (MIS #809)

Parent Permission to Conduct a Formal Reevaluation (MIS #444)

Parent Contact Log (MIS #713)

Referral Checklist for OT/PT (MIS #777)

Data Entry form (MIS #729)

Medical Prescription for Therapy (MIS #732)

Exceptional Student Education Services Staffing (MIS #795)

Exceptional Student Education Informed Notice (MIS #757)

Informed Notice Regarding a Proposed Action with Related Services (MIS #797)

Release of Records (MIS #791)

Out-of-State Therapy Letter

Consent for Evaluation (MIS #425)

Informed Notice: Evaluation(s) Not Required ([#824])

Early Childhood ESE Referral

OT/PT Transition Recommendation

504 Plan with Consideration of OT and/or PT Services flowchart