As school districts continue to face compounding challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pediatric Therapeutic Services (PTS) offers solutions that both contain costs and control caseloads, all while providing more support to more students.
Here, you’ll discover how we can help you address the unique challenges within your district, provide the highest quality of care for your students, and stay within your budgetary and time constraints.
What Challenges Are Schools Facing Due to the Pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic caused schools to halt in-person classes for extensive periods, which resulted in major scheduling and resource challenges, even after some districts moved to hybrid learning. The continually changing schedules impacted both the types of services available to students and the ways in which they were offered.
The Shift to Individual Services Over Group or Push-In Sessions
One of the biggest consequences of virtual education was a shift to individual services, rather than a variety of both group and push-in sessions that normally occur during in-person lessons. Now that students are back to in-classroom instruction, many districts are experiencing higher caseloads than normal for numerous reasons, including:
- Recoupment of services that were unable to be provided during the pandemic.
- Undiagnosed students that couldn’t be adequately or accurately assessed virtually.
- Referral backlogs that built up throughout the year.
- A lack of discharges due to limited ability to monitor or evaluate progress.
New Behavioral and Mental Health Challenges
On top of these ongoing realities, families continue to experience emotional and economic hardships that impact students’ mental health and well-being.
Though we have seen an uptick in behavioral referrals, many students demonstrating these behaviors are likely experiencing social and emotional issues related to the pandemic that can be addressed at the classroom level. We’ve seen an increase in the following behaviors in both secondary and elementary schools:
- Substance abuse
- School avoidance and truancy
Moving forward, this will require that we address these concerns through the use of classroom-level supports that help all students and promote inclusivity.
PTS Helps Schools Take an Integrated Approach to Address these Challenges
One of the major difficulties school districts need to address post-pandemic is skill regression, especially in executive function and self-regulation. At first, it may seem like many more students have one or more disabilities. However, we know that more than a year of sensory and community deprivation is likely at the root of many of these behaviors.
PTS’s Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) approach to Occupational Therapy (OT), Physical Therapy (PT), Speech-Language Pathology (SLP), and behavioral health can help prevent both over-identification and disproportionality by introducing in-classroom interventions that address common issues.
With this approach, schools can meet the increasingly complex needs of students, while accounting for budgetary limitations and overextended teachers and therapists.
No-Cost Resources for our Partnering Districts
Our Tier 1 and Tier 2 supports promote collaborative learning that helps students develop socio-emotional skills in the classroom—instead of unnecessarily placing students onto the caseload. When you partner with PTS, your teachers and aides receive free trainings on how to implement classroom-wide interventions like:
- Kindergarten BootKamp™: A 6-week program that helps kindergarten and first-grade students develop postural control, visual perceptual, manual dexterity/grasp, and visual motor skills.
- Pencil Power™: A small-group supplemental handwriting instruction program that keeps first- and second-grade students off OT caseloads and keeps handwriting instruction in the classroom, where it belongs.
Teachers and paraprofessionals can implement these Tier 1 and Tier 2 interventions to help more students without adding to their daily workload.
PTS can help your school seamlessly implement an MTSS approach to address post-pandemic challenges by offering services like:
- Day-to-day program management provided by our Clinical Directors.
- Free in-service trainings for teachers/paraprofessionals within partnering school districts.
- On-site Mental Health Counselors for students and teachers who are also continuing to recover from adverse circumstances caused by the pandemic.
Along with these on-the-ground supports, PTS draws data-driven insights from our BudgetWatch™ software that allow administrators to make real-time adjustments to their post-pandemic programming. It tracks where excess referrals are coming from, so you know where additional teacher training is needed.
These trainings and resources empower teachers and aides to address common concerns at the classroom level instead of referring students to related services.
PTS Supports Your School and Students with Post-Pandemic Services
As your district continues to adapt to new challenges created by the pandemic, let PTS manage your special education program and monitor your students’ progress, so you can focus on the big picture.
Contact us at Pediatric Therapeutic Services to find out how we can help your school adapt to post-pandemic programming while keeping caseloads manageable and costs down. Watch our free webinar to discover more!