Physical Therapy

*Be sure to click on the age groups in upper left hand corner to find valuable links for those age groups


Physical therapy in the school system is a related service provided to assist a child with a disability*. A multidisciplinary team that includes parents, teachers, child study team members, the student and other special service providers determines a child’s eligibility for services. This team determines whether the child has a disability, has a need for special education, and requires related services such as physical therapy.  Students that have been identified between the ages of 3 and 21 years of age and have a disability that impacts their ability to access the school-based curriculum are eligible for services in the least restrictive environment.

Physical Therapy in the school system focuses on the child’s ability to move about their school environment as independently as possible.  The focus of school-based physical therapy is on “educationally relevant goals” versus “medically based physical therapy goals”. Children, who qualify for hospital or out patient physical therapy, may not qualify for school-based services. The school physical therapist evaluates the child's ability to move throughout the school, participate in classroom activities and access school equipment (including playground equipment). Physical therapy interventions are designed to enable the student to participate in activities of a school day; participate in classroom activities; maintain and change positions in the classroom; standing in line or at the board, moving in class or throughout the building and school grounds as well as manage stairs, the bus, restrooms, and the cafeteria.

The PT staff may provide consultation, direct treatment, or training of parents and school staff.  Delivery of these services may be provided in class, small group or individual treatment in a variety of settings. Interventions may include adaptations to school environments, working with a student on motor skills, assistance with identifying and getting special equipment, and collaboration with school staff and other professionals. Consideration of a child’s performance includes skills in the classroom, hallways, gymnasium, stairs, playground, restrooms and cafeteria. The ultimate goal of physical therapy is to have the child learn how to move around the school as functionally and independently as possible.

District Physical Therapists

All screens, evaluations, consultations, and interventions are performed by physical therapists licensed by the state of New Jersey and have a New Jersey School Physical Therapist certificate.

Eileen Chunko PT                 [email protected]

Town Center Elementary, Wicoff Elementary, Millstone River School, High School North 

Susan Lee PT                       [email protected]

Dutch Neck Elementary, Maurice Hawk Elementary, Town Center Elementary, Village School, Grover Middle School, High School North

* Under IDEA, students are eligible for special education and related services (such as physical therapy) if they are within the age range specified by the states plan for special education (usually ages 3-21), meet the eligibility criteria for one of the 13 categories of disabilities specified in IDEA or the criteria for developmental delay, and require special education and related services because of (Sec. 300.8 [a]) the disability.

(1)  Child with a disability means a child evaluated in accordance with Sec. 300.304 through 300.311 as having mental retardation, a hearing impairment (including deafness), a speech or language impairment, a visual impairment (including blindness), a serious emotional disturbance (referred to in this part as “emotional disturbance”), an orthopedic impairment, autism, traumatic brain injury, an other health impairment, a specific learning disability, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities, and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.

(2)(i) Subject to paragraph (a)(2)(ii) of this section, if it is determined, through an appropriate evaluation under Sec. 300.304 through 300.311, that a child has one of these disabilities identified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, but only needs a related service and not special education, the child is not a child with a disability under this part.