Evidence Based Practice
For a child with disabilities, few transitions are as fraught as the passage from youth to adult, usually around age 21. While the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) makes some provision for transitional services for youth as they prepare to move out of the school system for “further education, employment or independent living,” these services are often poorly defined and...
Toileting Initiative Produces Great Results
It all started when therapists from the three special day schools of Baltimore County Public Schools sat down to talk at one of our yearly meetings. The discussion turned from the mundane to the visionary, how to provide more functional, purposeful activities for our kiddos throughout the day. And, of all things, we talked about toileting. As a vital part of the student’s day, we wanted the toileting...
Nine TRAM Success Stories from the Public School Setting
Three years ago, because of significant work-place injury among the region’s educational staff, I along with other physical therapists from High Desert Education Service District’s (HDESD) proposed a safe patient handling and mobility (SPHM) policy which the region’s special education directors endorsed. This involved obtaining and teaching school staff how to use mechanical devices to...
Benefits of Early Mobility
Early Gait Training: Positive Outcomes for the Long Term
Think about it. The more you practice, the better you get – at anything. As author Malcolm Gladwell explains in his book “Outliers,” the one point that distinguishes a violinist from a virtuoso is practice- at least 10,000 hours of it. This applies to any field regardless of nature or nurture. So with early gait training, a child...
An Unlikely Hero
At Rifton we talk a lot about heroes. They are the people we meet at schools and hospitals who care for people with multiple – and sometimes overwhelming – disabilities. People like Alicia in the photo at right, a physical therapist at Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in Yonkers, who is helping Derrick learn to walk.
But take another look. Something has caught Derrick’s eye. Notice the...
My Thanks for a Magical Moment
About 40 miles north of Chicago, in Lake County, there is a special school called Laremont, and it was there a few weeks ago that I was reminded how fortunate I am in my line of work.
You see, I’ve worked for the last five years in customer service for Rifton. And because I cover the state of Illinois, every two years I attend an event there for school therapists. This year I scheduled an extra half...
A Great Book for a New School Year
Prince Noah is back in time for the start of a new school year. His second appearance on our blog heralds the sequel to the well-loved fairy tale The Prince Who Was Just Himself, a story about a child with Down syndrome unwittingly disarming a palace enemy through natural gifts of compassion and curiosity.
In the delightfully written Prince Noah and the School Pirates, Noah continues to be himself...
Best Practices for Classroom Prompting
When teaching children with special needs new skills, therapists and teachers typically provide prompts to guide the process. According to activity-based curriculums, prompts are defined as supports, and may come in many different forms. Prompts are ever changing, depending on the activity.
A wide variety of prompts enables special education classroom staff to choose the one or combination that are most...
Beyond the Medical Model
Therapy services are provided in hospitals, clinics, homes and schools. But in the educational setting, therapy intervention is unique because it is controlled by the landmark education legislation called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and by the child’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP). In this setting, school-based therapy intervention focuses on the child and how...
Teamwork in a Task-Oriented Approach
Task-oriented therapy approaches are used widely in school systems across the country. This is because students with disabilities learn and respond to their greatest potential when motor learning is incorporated into functional and meaningful tasks throughout the school day. One of the most successful and recognized task oriented methodologies is the MOVE Program. Within the MOVE curriculum, as in all task...