What are Related Services?

Special Education Student ServicesParents with children in special education often ask me, ‘I keep hearing about related services, what are they?’

Parents should not feel guilty for not knowing what related services are, after all, just the fact of attending IEP meetings is highly overwhelming. There is so much information to digest: jargon, acronyms, student’s academic performance and behavior, listening to reports from the case manager, general education teacher, therapists, review of old and new goals, and any other information particular to the child’s education.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal law that regulates special education, defines related services as such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services required to assist a child with a disability benefit from special education. In fact, IDEA contains a list of 16 services schools are required to provide in order for special education students to benefit from their specially designed curriculum. These services are:

1) Audiology

  • Identification of children with hearing loss;
  • Determination of the range, nature, and degree of hearing loss, including referral for medical or other professional attention for the habilitation of hearing;
  • Provision of habilitative activities, such as language habilitation, auditory training, lip-reading, hearing evaluation, and speech conservation;
  • Creation and administration of programs for prevention of hearing loss;
  • Counseling and guidance of children, parents, and teachers regarding hearing loss;
  • Determination of children’s needs for group and individual amplification, selecting and fitting an appropriate aid, and evaluating the effectiveness of amplification.

2) Counseling services

  • Provided by qualified social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors, or other qualified personnel.

3) Early identification and assessment of disabilities in children

  • Implementation of a formal plan for identifying a disability as early as possible in a child’s life.

4) Interpreting services

  • For children who are deaf or hard of hearing: oral transliteration services, cued language transliteration services, sign language transliteration and interpreting services, transcription services, communication access real-time translation (CART), C-Print, TypeWell;
  • Special interpreting services for children who are deaf-blind.

5) Medical Services

  • Services provided by a licensed physician to determine a child’s medically related disability that results in the child’s need for special education and related services.

6) Occupational therapy

  • Services by qualified occupational therapist, including:
  • Improving, developing, or restoring functions impaired or lost through illness, injury or deprivation;
  • Improving ability to perform tasks for independent functioning if functions are impaired or lost;
  • Preventing, through early intervention, initial or further impairment or loss of function.

7) Orientation and mobility services

  • Services provided to blind or visually impaired children by qualified personnel to enable those students to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement within their environment in school, home, and community; including:
  • Spatial and environmental concepts and use of information received by the senses (such as sound, temperature, and vibrations) to establish, maintain, or regain orientation and line of travel (for example: using sound at a traffic light to cross the street);
  • Using a long cane or a service animal to supplement visual travel skills or as a tool for safely negotiating the environment for children with no available travel vision;
  • Understand and use remaining vision and distance low vision aids;
  • Other concepts, techniques, and tools.

8) Parent Counseling and Training

  • Assisting parents in understanding the special needs of their child;
  • Providing parents with information about child development;
  • Helping parents to acquire the necessary skills that will allow them to support the implementation of their child’s IEP.

9) Physical Therapy

  • Services provided by a qualified physical therapist.

10) Psychological services

  • Administering psychological and educational tests, and other assessment procedures;
  • Interpreting assessment results;
  • Obtaining, integrating, and interpreting information about child behavior and conditions relating to learning;
  • Consulting with other staff members in planning school programs to meet the special educational needs of children as indicated by psychological tests, interviews, direct observation, and behavioral evaluations;
  • Planning and managing a program of psychological services, including psychological counseling for children and parents;
  • Assisting in developing positive behavioral intervention strategies.

11) Recreation

  • Assessment of leisure function;
  • Therapeutic recreation services;
  • Recreation programs in schools and community agencies;
  • Leisure education.

12) Rehabilitation counseling services

  • Provided by qualified personnel in individual or group sessions that focus specifically on career development, employment preparation, achieving independence, and integration in the workplace and community;
  • Vocational rehabilitation services funded by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

13) School health and nurse services

  • Health services designed to enable a child with a disability to receive education as described in the IEP;
  • Services provided by a qualified school nurse;
  • Services provided by other qualified person.

14) Social work services

  • Preparing a social developmental history on a child with a disability;
  • Group and individual counseling with the child and family;
  • Working in partnership with parents and others on those problems in a child’s living situation (home, school, and community) that affect the child’s adjustment in school;
  • Mobilizing school and community resources to enable the child to learn from the educational program as effectively as possible;
  • Assisting in developing positive behavioral intervention strategies.

15) Speech-language pathology

  • Identification of children with speech or language impairments;
  • Diagnosis and appraisal of specific speech or language impairments;
  • Referral for medical or other professional attention necessary for the habilitation of speech or language impairments;
  • Provision of speech and language services for the habilitation or prevention of communicative impairments;
    Counseling and guidance of parents, children, and teachers regarding speech and language impairments.

16) Transportation

  • Travel to and from school and between schools;
  • Travel in and around school buildings;
  • Specialized equipment, such as special or adapted buses, lifts and ramps.

As you can see, the list of special education related services is an invaluable source of information for parents. For students who have been struggling for some time, have been unable to make meaningful progress, or meet their academic or functional goals; it is highly probable their IEP requires the inclusion or modification of related services.

In my experience, 9 out of 10 parents who have children with special needs are unaware of the existence of this wide range of services. Please share this post, it could have a life changing effect on a student!