Q&A Concerning Special Needs
Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech Services
Finding OTPT and Speech Services
Educating a child with special needs speech issues at home is often the best environment for him or her, but sometimes you may find you need additional–professional–assistance.
Seeking a special needs speech therapist
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 and the HEAV blog has been dedicated to homeschooling special-needs children.