Purpose: This exploratory investigation identifies factors that contribute to success of physical therapy services delivered in the context of the daily routines in preschool classroom settings.
Methods: Ten pediatric physical therapists from rural and urban communities across North Carolina served as informants during telephone interviews.
Results: Qualitative analysis of the data led to the identification of six major themes: interactions among classroom personnel, impact of the classroom environment, individual characteristics of the child, logistical considerations, administrative policies and practices, and service delivery options. All 10 informants shared the perception that the cooperation and commitment of the teacher was essential for successful incorporation of therapy activities in classroom routines. Furthermore, the informants agreed that multiple models of service delivery were necessary to meet the individual needs of children.
Conclusions: These results lead the authors to question the wisdom of promoting any one service delivery model as “best practice” and suggest guidelines for successful integration of physical therapy in the preschool classroom.