How Much Does Funding Play a Role in Helping the Kids in Your District Get Therapy?

by Tom Kloiber on January 3, 2014

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The amount of funding a school receives for therapy through donations, private funding, and grants can make a large difference in the lives of students. Early intervention can help parents address any developmental, social, or speech delays that their children have before these issues can impact them significantly in the classroom. Getting a proper diagnosis means that families can work with their child’s teachers and educational network to ensure that the child has an IEP in place if needed, and adequate support both inside and out of the classroom. Proper diagnosis and treatment road maps can help children pinpoint their areas of weakness, and work with their parents and teachers to strengthen their skills while still retaining a love of learning.

Some school districts offer physical and occupational therapy as a part of their curriculum. Increases in funding can also mean that children who have experienced traumatic events may be able to access an art therapy program through their school, or a therapy dog at their school counselor’s office. Funding plays a critical role in determining how many students are able to be provided these services, which are often on a limited basis. The amount of funding may also determine the quality of services rendered, and can vary depending on factors such as a school’s location, the types of therapies or projects offered, and the number of children to be treated.

School districts often have a budget set in place far before the school year begins. Grant applications also have deadlines and strict application requirements that have to be met before funding is awarded. The amount of funding varies based on the grant applied for, and may only cover treatment for a few children or a specific type of program. Without adequate funding, occupational and physical therapists working in a school may be limited as to the number of children they can have in a session (if there is group therapy offered), and art therapy classes may be set with an enrollment cap. There may be other shortages, such as limited supplies, or fewer appointment times available. Funding can also impact the quality of services your child may receive. If the number of sessions with a speech therapist, occupational, or physical therapist spends with a student is cut back due to funding issues this can severely impact the child. Shorter sessions, or limited sessions due to lack of funding can find students struggling both academically and socially.

Parents can do their part to ensure that their child receives the highest quality therapy services available by obtaining early intervention if they suspect their child has a speech or learning delay, or difficulty interacting with peers in social situations. Getting an early diagnosis can help parents plan for their child’s future, and assess the type of therapy and treatment plan that their child will need moving forward. If enrolling your child in a new school, bringing a copy of their IEP (if they have one) and asking what sort of therapy services and funding is allocated to these programs can help prevent any lapses in treatment for a child. If there are gaps in a child’s treatment, a parent may be able to have certain therapies covered for their child under their family health insurance plan. Funding can impact children, families, and therapists, and ensuring that there is enough to go around helps keep children healthy and safe year-round.

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