Physical Therapy

Our physical therapists use their unique experience in movement and function to facilitate and promote motor development and participation in school routines and activities that are part of his or her educational program.

They design and perform therapeutic interventions to promote functional independence including strategies and adaptions focusing on functional mobility, safe, efficient access and participation to educational activities in the student’s learning environment at school and in the community.

Therapist and young girl in pool
Aquatic Therapy Pools

Both Pillar Elementary and Pillar High School have on-site therapy pools. Aquatic therapy refers to treatments and exercises performed in water for relaxation, fitness, physical rehabilitation, and other therapeutic benefit. Typically, a qualified aquatic therapist gives constant attendance to a person receiving treatment in a heated therapy pool at therapeutic temperatures. The warmer air and water temperatures create a therapeutic environment which helps to promote relaxation and assist with decreasing muscle tone. Aquatic therapy techniques include, Halliwick, Watsu, and Bad Ragazz. Therapeutic applications include neurological disorders, neurological and musculoskeletal pain, postoperative orthopedic rehabilitation, and pediatric disabilities. The new overhead lift system in Pillar High School’s therapy pool allows students to experience gait training in the water as well as transfer students directly from their wheelchair into the pool using specialized support slings.

Therapist and student smiling
PT Treehouse + Equine Therapy
Preschool PT Treehouse

Our preschool room features a treehouse to motivate students in a range of therapy activities.

Exposure to Equine Therapy

All Pillar Elementary students may participate in equine therapy at a nearby stable.

Two teachers with two students on swings
Adapted Equipment

Our Pillar Schools maintain a wide range of adapted equipment, including wheelchairs, gait trainers, walkers, tricycles, classroom chairs and standers. Our therapists are skilled at identifying facilitators and barriers to students’ abilities in performing activities and participation and making recommendations for adaptive equipment to improve the effectiveness of interventions and student access to our educational program.

Accessible Parks

A 2,500 sf play park at Pillar Elementary School turns PT into a thrilling experience for students, including slides, swings and a garden.

Pillar High offers a circuit-training like fitness park that allows our students to have fun while working on strengthening, balance, coordination, and endurance, while receiving sensory input.

Therapeutic (Kinesio) Taping

Therapeutic taping is one of many tools utilized with students to assist with improving alignment, activation, or relaxation of specific muscles to facilitate movement.

Various brands of this specialized, elastic adhesive tape can be used.

Physical therapists determine whether use of therapeutic taping is appropriate or not to help achieve individualized goals.

Gait Training

Pillar Schools have access to a variety of mobility devices including support walkers, gait trainers, dynamic walkers and partial weight bearing devices including the LiteGait and Rifton TRAM. Partial weight bearing devices allow the therapist to control weight bearing, posture, and balance over a treadmill or over ground within the school environment. These devices provide proper posture, reduce weight bearing, eliminate concerns for balance, and facilitate the training of coordinated lower extremity movement. It also allows the clinician to manually assist the legs and pelvis to achieve proper gait patterns.

Physical Therapy Interventions + Supports

Our Physical Therapy Department is specifically trained in techniques and equipment geared towards the pediatric multiply disabled population. Our therapists meet each student’s individual therapy needs to ensure maximal functional independence within their school environment.

  • Durable Medical Equipment
  • NDT (Neuro-Developmental Treatment) Techniques
  • Universal Exercise Unit (UEU)
  • Scoliosis Screenings

Pillar Schools’ Durable Medical Equipment Department provides bi-monthly on-site clinics to assist students and their families with all issues related to their equipment, including manual or power wheelchairs, adaptive strollers, walkers, canes or crutches, standers, bathroom equipment, therapeutic chairs, protective helmets, orthoses (braces for feet), splints (for arms or legs) and patient lifts. Our experts help families order the appropriate equipment (including dealing with insurance companies and evaluating various types of equipment) and assist with any modifications and repairs needed.

Our Pillar therapists integrate current motor learning principles including Neuro-Developmental Treatment (NDT) techniques, stressing the importance of repetition of skills and functionally relevant practice, both dynamic aspects of intervention to promote acquisition of motor skills and student participation in educational curriculum and environment.

This modality uses a system of pulleys and weights to target specific muscles and allows the therapists to support the strengthening of weaker muscles while preventing the compensatory use of other muscles. It is an effective tool for teaching children to activate and use their muscles for functional activities. The UEU is useful for learning to transfer independently between positions. It also may improve proprioception and arousal.

Students ages 10-15 who do not already have a diagnosis will be participating in scoliosis screenings every two years.

How to Help

Our supporters are critical to helping our schools to go above and beyond for our students. There are a number of ways you can help.