Special Education/Services


My son has awful on off uncontrolled neck movements
Can I ask for pt or ot to address
He has much discomfort and I think
Exercises can help.
I am pursuing out of school but feel
Needs to be in school too bc is a long day

Hello, HJ,

Thank you for writing to me about your son.  You are saying he has on and off uncontrolled neck movements and you are wondering if you can ask for the school based Occupational Therapist or Physical Therapist to provide therapy and supports at school.  You are also going to pursue therapy outside of school.  

I'm wondering if you and the school know the source or why the neck movements are occurring.  Also, how to the neck movements affect your son in the classroom or with his education performance?  These issues will be important to the school team.  Also, for a related service such as OT or PT, there will need to be an evaluation.  So I feel you may need to ask for an evaluation in these areas in order to add the service to your son's Individualized Education Plan (I hope he has one!).  If the neck movements are part of Autism, for example, then the intervention may need to be different from a case where these movements are tics or associated with a medical condition such as Tourette's.  In any case, while the evaluation process is ongoing, these issues can also be sorted out through a functional analysis of behaviors.  But if you are already aware of why they are occurring, definitely there should be some intervention to assist your son in making progress and learning the curriculum.  

The answer is that a parent can ask for anything she likes, but the criteria for the school providing interventions will be:  is the therapy needed in order for your son to benefit from his special education program?  Is the therapy needed for your son to make academic and educational progress and be as independent as possible?  And is the therapy needed for him to receive a free appropriate public education?  

If there are no evaluations, that will be the first step.  Please feel free to follow up with another question if I missed any part in my answer.  

And thank you for using this service and for writing to me!  


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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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