Potential Development provides on-site physical, occupational and speech therapy to each student who attends our schools. These services are important aspects of the students’ individualized education plan (IEP) and help the students to concentrate better in school, improve their language skills, address any sensory problems and develop their fine motor skills. Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy is offered to students at all of our locations. If a student has medical coverage for these services, the insurance company will be billed first and any sessions not covered by insurance will be provided by Potential Development, at no additional cost.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapy can be beneficial for children who struggle with movement that cause functional limitations. Children with autism frequently have challenges with motor skills such as sitting, walking, running or jumping. Physical Therapy can address poor muscle tone, balance and coordination.

Physical Therapy plays a crucial role in gross motor skills, which enable children to explore and learn from their environment. Students meet with their therapist on a weekly basis during the school day to work on the goals set forth in the student’s IEP.

Speech Therapy

Autism can affect speech, language development and social communication in many ways. One student may not have the ability to speak at all, another might repeat everything that is said without understanding the words and reason for saying it and a third student might be able to speak but not carry on a conversation. Many children with Autism also have to how to understand verbal and nonverbal cues from others – such as facial expressions, tone of voice and body language.

Our Speech Pathologists screen each student at the beginning of the school year and works with the family and school to develop a plan to improve the student’s communication skills. If the student is nonverbal, alternatives to speech can be introduced such as electronic “talkers,” picture boards, and applications on the iPad.

Students participate in speech therapy sessions during the school day on a weekly basis.

Occupational Therapy

Potential Development has three occupational therapists on staff to work with the students at our Youngstown locations. Students meet with their therapists on a weekly basis during the school day to work on the goals set forth in the student’s IEP.

Occupational Therapy also helps the students with sensory integration problems to learn what types of activities help them to feel better. This will help a student focus in class, behave better, have less tantrums/meltdowns and be less afraid of activities that kids enjoy. Some interventions that help include: rocking, swinging, upside-down activities, scooter activities and therapy balls.

Sensory Rooms

Potential Development also features sensory rooms at the three main locations. A sensory room is a dark room that fosters an atmosphere of relaxation, which provides students a calming and peaceful environment to decompress from the sensory stimulation. Sensory rooms are proven to:

  • Enhance sensory skills and hand-eye coordination
  • Assist in the development of social and emotional skills
  • Reduce tension and increase relaxation
  • Improve levels of concentration alertness, calmness & general awareness

The Physical and Occupational Therapists sometimes use the room during their sessions with students, but the rooms are also available for staff use when a student is having a difficult time transitioning during the day.