Motor Lab Can Solve Problems With DESE

Written by Dan McCool

Dan is a Speech-Language Pathologist and owner of Second Mile School Therapy. He has been working with school districts for 20 years in Southwest Missouri.

November 14, 2022

Does your school need a motor lab?

Motor labs are becoming popular in schools, but you might be asking yourself if they are important or is it a fancy name for indoor recess?

That is a good question.

Most of the time, the motor lab is used with early elementary students. Some districts send entire classes at the same time, and students get a brain break. This allows students to move and take a break from the classroom routine.

Another use of the motor lab is RTI services for motor concerns. In this scenario, the only students that participate in Motor Lab have been identified by their teachers through a screening process.

DESE requires students to participate in interventions prior to evaluations. Specifically, DESE requires an answer to the following question on the evaluation report: Were Intervention Strategies Used Prior to Referral?

If interventions are not utilized, your district may be inviting some unwelcome attention and questions from DESE. Better to provide the student with interventions. The motor lab fulfills the requirement from DESE. So, to answer the question, your school probably needs a motor lab.

Motor Lab provides:

  • An opportunity to collect objective data on student performance
  • A chance to resolve any minor motor issues before an IEP or 504 is implemented
  • Help for students that are borderline for requiring therapy.
  • Support in a small group setting.
  • Observation by motor experts (occupational or physical therapists.)
  • Fulfills DESE guidance to provide interventions before conducting an evaluation.

There are a few exceptions to the Interventions before Evaluation Rule. In another post, I’ll share info on providing interventions while, at the same time, engaging in the evaluation process.

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