The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted students and families within the home and school environments, making it more difficult to both effectively evaluate students’ needs for special education programming and to deliver therapeutic services.
Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS) offers solutions based on our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) approach. Find out how therapy in schools has changed for the 2021 to 2022 school year, and how partnering with PTS can improve your special education programming both now and in the future.
A Shift to Virtual & Hybrid Education and Larger Incoming Kindergarten Classes
The escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a transition from in-person learning to virtual and hybrid education for extended periods. Excessive screen time, less face-to-face interaction, and barriers to accessing education and other services made it difficult for students to reach key developmental milestones. In this context, all students need extra support to catch up.
One major impact of this shift was a spike in individual services, rather than group and push-in classroom sessions. Ultimately, this resulted in higher-than-normal caseloads due to:
- Referral backlogs
- Recoupment of services
- Limited evaluations
- Fewer discharges
- Undiagnosed students
A Noticeable Uptick in Mental Health & Behavioral Referrals Due to Emotional & Economic Hardships
The COVID-19 pandemic caused an increase in stress, anxiety, and other symptoms caused by economic instability for families, loss of loved ones, and other co-occurring challenges. These difficulties at home and disruptions to school routines led to more social and emotional issues, resulting in an uptick in behavioral referrals. Specifically, the following behaviors have increased in many secondary and elementary schools:
- Substance abuse
- School avoidance and truancy
The good news is that these challenges can effectively be addressed at the classroom level. PTS offers solutions that help all students, promote inclusivity, and contain costs.
How PTS Can Help You Provide Therapeutic Services to More Students in a Post-Pandemic World
To address all these challenges, PTS uses our Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) approach to all types of special education programming and related services, including Behavioral Health, Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT), and Speech-Language Pathology (SLP).
Our cross-disciplinary framework uses three different tiers of support, including one at the general education level in the least-restrictive environment. This enables you to provide the highest quality of care to the most students while reducing unnecessary referrals.
As a PTS partner, you will have access to our entire Capable Classroom™ suite that includes the following classroom-wide interventions:
- Super Self™: Self-regulation group to boost social skills and self-regulation for third graders.
- I Know What to Do! Card Game: Social skills game with social scripts for students struggling with impulsivity and related challenges.
- Pencil Power™: Small-group Occupational Therapy (OT) supplemental handwriting instruction program for first- and second-grade students.
- Artic Blast™ Board Game: Game for pre-referral Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) interventions.
To accurately determine where referrals are coming from and why, we use our proprietary BudgetWatch™ technology that delivers data-driven insights to guide your programming. With this information in hand, our team can recommend the right Tier-1 (classroom-wide) interventions for specific classrooms or grades. In the end, all students benefit and only the ones who truly need it end up on caseload.
Partner With PTS to Adapt to School-Based Therapy Changes in the 2021-2022 School Year
When you partner with PTS, we operate as an extension of your special education program without adding any additional work to the plates of administrators, teachers, or other staff members. We place highly qualified, dedicated therapists in your school who can provide the right services to support your students and effectively adjust to how therapy in schools changed for the 2021 to 2022 school year.
Contact PTS to learn more today!