Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Physical Therapy


Questionnaires returned by 328 physical therapists were analyzed to 1) establish a role definition for public school therapists and 2) determine the educational needs of therapists preparing for public school service. The therapists ranked 15 skills in importance to the role of the public school physical therapist and in urgency of their need to develop each skill. They also indicated which educational format they believed would be most appropriate for developing each skill. The respondents were divided into four groups matched by experience in treating children and by exposure to public school physical therapy. Rank-order correlations within each of these four groups showed little similarity in their perception of the public school therapist's role or in their own educational needs. On the other hand, between-group correlations based on averaged role definitions and educational needs were high. Generated role definitions indicated the tendency of therapists to perceive themselves as part of the traditional medical model, rather than as participants in the educational process. Responses to questions about educational needs produced data useful for organizations developing educational programs.


Originally published:

Levangie, Pamela. "Public School Physical Therapists: Role Definition and Educational Needs." Physical Therapy 60.6 (1980): 774-779.