Related Services


As related services, OT and PT services are provided if the therapists’ expertise is needed to support the attainment of the identified IEP goals.
Occupational therapists work with students who are eligible for special education and have been identified with visual motor, fine motor, postural and/or motor needs, self-care and sensory processing deficits that significantly impact the student’s ability to participate in their educational program.
Physical therapists work with students who are eligible for special education and have been identified with gross motor, functional mobility, strength/endurance, postural and/or positioning needs that significantly impact the student’s ability to participate in their educational program.
Services are provided in the student’s most natural and least restrictive environment. Services are delivered using a direct and consultation model. Consultation and collaboration with the educational team are an essential component of services to assure that the recommended interventions are implemented on a daily basis.
School based OT and PT services are not intended to take the place of clinical therapy. Medical diagnoses or medical issues that do not interfere with a student’s ability to access or participate in his/her educational program are not the focus of school therapy services.


School psychologists in District 97 provide a variety of services to students, school staff, and parents. School psychologists are trained in the areas of assessment, childhood development, behavioral management, individual/group counseling, and consultation. School psychologists are advocates for children.

School psychologists are involved in many areas including:

  • Response to Intervention
  • Academic Performance
  • Child Development
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Behavioral Management
  • Social Skills
  • State & Federal Special Education Regulations
  • Psychoeducational Evaluations

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) offers support and training for school psychologists, as well as many resources for parents and teachers. Go HERE to access NASP information regarding “Who are School Psychologists?”


Speech- Language Pathologists

Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP’s) in District 97 work with students exhibiting a full range of communication disorders, including language, articulation (speech sound disorders), fluency and voice/resonance that adversely affects a student’s educational performance in the school setting. 

The Speech-Language Pathologist develops and implements appropriate individualized education programs.  They collaborate with the educational team including teachers, nurses, parents and other school disciplines involved.  The SLP’s implement a variety of service delivery models such as pull out, push in or consultation to deliver services.

The Speech-Language Pathologist can also provide training to assist in generalization of skills in other environments and provide appropriate communication technologies when needed.

When should I make a Speech-Language referral?

Articulation Norms SY21-22


  • Form – poor grammar and sentence formulation (NOT dialectal grammar differences)
  • Content
  • Receptive:  poor vocabulary comprehension, unable to follow directions or sequence steps, weak basic concepts, incorrect response to –wh questions
  • Expressive:  speaks in incomplete sentences, use of stuff/thing/um in place of specific & age-appropriate vocabulary
  • Use/Pragmatics – does the student have the language necessary to interact with teachers  & peers? does the student make eye contact, take turns, stay on-topic, read nonverbal cues (facial expression, body language,etc)?


  • Stuttering


  • Any consistent hoarseness or unusual vocal quality

Social Work

School Social Work in Elementary School District 97.

What is a School Social Worker?...

As part of a comprehensive educational team, School Social Workers have many roles within the school.  

  • School social work is a specialized area of practice within the broad field of the social work profession.
  • School social workers bring unique knowledge and skills to the school system and the student services team.
  • School Social Workers are trained mental health professionals who provide crisis intervention and can assist with mental health concerns, behavioral concerns, positive behavioral support, academic and classroom support, consultation with teachers, parents and administrators as well as provide individual and group counseling/therapy.   
  • School social workers are instrumental in furthering the mission of the schools which is to provide a setting for teaching, learning, and for the attainment of competence and confidence.
  • School social workers are hired by school districts to enhance the district's ability to meet its academic mission, especially where home, school and community collaboration is the key to achieving student success.  

(excerpted from: School Social Worker Association of America)

School Social Workers have unique training about special education law and policy as well as training about systems which help them understand  and interpret the influences of culture, family, education, and community systems which influence students in the school setting.

School Social Workers adhere to the Professional Social Work Standards and are bound by professional ethics set forth by the National Association of Social Workers.  These ethical standards are rooted in the set of the following core values:  

  • service
  • social justice
  • dignity and worth of the person
  • importance of human relationships
  • integrity
  • competence.

(NASW National Association of Social Workers)

School Social Workers also play a unique role in Special Education.  According to IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, PL 94-142) 5 key functions have been identified as the role of the school social worker in relation to Special Education:

  1. Developing a Social Developmental Study on a child who has or may have a disability
  2. Providing group and individual counseling services to children
  3. Assisting with situational problems in the child’s living situation (home, school, community) which have a direct impact on the child’s adjustment in school.
  4. Providing linkage to and advocacy for school and community resources that might assist a child to better attain and benefit from their education.
  5. Assisting and developing positive behavioral intervention strategies.

As outlined above,  Social Workers participate in many varied activities to enhance the educational attainment of a diverse student population  while concurrently responding to emergent needs that arise throughout the year.   Social Workers may reasonably alter and adjust their emphasis from one school year to the next as they attend to changes in caseloads, priorities of service, crisis, safety needs of the school, and needs as seen by the school administrator.  

Adaptive Physical Education

My name is Tim McDonald. I am the Adapted Physical Education teacher in Oak Park District 97.  I work with students at the elementary schools (Whittier, Holmes, Irving, Longfellow, Hatch, Lincoln, Mann and Beye) and middle schools (Brooks and Julian).  I teach students in the Early Childhood classrooms (ages 3-5) through 8th grade.  I teach my own classes at Whittier, Irving, Holmes and Brooks.  I also make modifications for students in the general physical education classes throughout the district. 

In general when working with all of my classes, I follow the general physical education curriculum and make modifications to be implemented within the general education setting or in my own classes.  Some of the areas that we work on with the elementary students include gross motor skills (running, galloping, jumping, hopping, sliding, leaping and skipping), object control skills (throwing, catching, kicking, batting, rolling and dribbling with feet/hands) and play skills (scooters, bikes and parachutes).  In addition to working on gross motor skills at the middle schools, we also work on fitness  and larger team games/sports.