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Q and A Concerning Special Needs OTPT and Speech Services

1. How do I find an occupational therapist (OT), physical therapist (PT), or speech therapist in Virginia if my child needs one?

2. Does my educational consultant or private therapist have to be currently licensed or certified?

3. Can you comment on the use of occupational therapy evaluation and treatment for young school-age children?

4. Do I need to pay an OT or PT privately to work with my child if the school’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) states that the student needs these services?

5. Who will help me compile a Special Education Plan (SEP) if my child needs one?

6. What should I do if I suspect my child may be learning disabled, although my child has never been through the public schools and labeled learning disabled?

7. Where do I begin finding a curriculum for special needs? It seems so overwhelming!

How do I find an occupational therapist (OT), physical therapist (PT), or speech therapist in Virginia if my child needs one?

It would be wise to select a clinical consultant who is supportive of your homeschooling choice. You can start by looking at those listed on our online Counselors, Testers, and Tutors page. Please Note: HEAV does not necessarily endorse the services listed, nor is the list exhaustive. Your local support group may have additional information on resources specific to your area. Find your local groups here.

Does my educational consultant or private therapist have to be currently licensed or certified?

No, it is not necessary to have a current license. It is important to have a person who has experience working with children whose needs are similar to those of your child. Credentials in that area would be excellent.

Can you comment on the use of occupational therapy evaluation and treatment for young school-age children?

OT is very often prescribed for young children who have been diagnosed with or are suspected of having:

  • delayed development
  • fine motor functioning difficulty (needed for handwriting skills)
  • a learning disability
  • a visual perceptual difficulty
  • an auditory perceptual difficulty
  • gross motor development difficulty
  • reading difficulty
  • difficulty in grasping early math concepts
  • attention deficit disorder (with or without hyperactivity)
  • being talented and gifted
  • a physical or psycho-social disability such as cerebral palsy, blindness or autism

Do I need to pay an OT or PT privately to work with my child if the school’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) states that the student needs these services?

No, you do not! One excellent way to provide the needed service is to specifically request a teaching/therapy session by the consultant you employ.  Have the OT or PT train you to perform the specific treatment modality. This can often be given as a workbook/handout, or in some cases, you can videotape the session with the therapist. Do make sure you are in regular contact with the therapist, however, and ask for help when you need it. Have an OT or PT treatment plan in place.

Who will help me compile a Special Education Plan (SEP) if my child needs one?

There are several clinicians in the state who can teach you how to write an SEP. Some therapists will agree to write up a selected section for you, such as the Speech/Language section. Contact the HEAV office for an updated list of consultants.

What should I do if I suspect my child may be learning disabled, although my child has never been through the public schools and labeled learning disabled?

As a parent, you must make a decision whether to test and evaluate a learning disability or to wait to document. There are pros and cons for each option. Many depend upon the age and grade of your child. This is also an area for private Talented and Gifted (TAG) students to explore.

Where do I begin finding a curriculum for special needs? It seems so overwhelming! There are quite a number of resources on the market (and more being developed all the time) for special needs children. There are some therapists who can show you how to adapt regular curriculum items so that you may still use those selected items (i.e., Saxon Math, KONOS, A Beka, Bob Jones).

This material is provided by Deb Pegram, OTR. Deb directs a private practice occupational therapy service entitled Specially Gifted. Deb is also the NATHHAN representative for the state of Virginia and a homeschooling mom of five. For more information contact: Specially Gifted, 7217 South Drive, Richmond, Virginia 23225; 1-804-323-1786.

An entire section of The Virginia Homeschool Manual has been dedicated to homeschooling special-needs children. We encourage you to purchase a copy in our online HEAV Store, or by calling the office at 804-278-9200.

Special Needs/Gifted Resources - Check out the HEAV store today!

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