What Are Related Services in a California IEP?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires schools to provide Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for all students with disabilities.
Parents, administrators, special education teachers, school psychologists, and classroom teachers are called upon to work together to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP), spelling out the child’s needs and creating a program to meet those needs.
Related services, also referred to as Designated Instruction and Services (DIS), are special education-related services that are necessary for the student to thrive. All related services must be specified in writing as part of the student’s IEP, and additional related services may be added to the IEP if deemed necessary through assessment and the IEP process. The IEP team meets at least once a year to assess student achievement and update or modify the student’s IEP accordingly.
How Related Services Are Provided
There are two types of related services: direct services and consult services. A direct service, such as tutoring, is provided directly by a special education teacher or a classroom aide.
A consult service, such as direct specialized attention, is provided by a regular education teacher in collaboration with a special education teacher to support the learning environment. A consult service is useful if the student no longer requires direct instruction from a provider but can still benefit from special education staff who support the student.
Related services may be provided during the regular school term and the extended school year. When developing support services, the IEP team will want to consider how a related service relates to the student’s overall instructional time. Once the child turns 16, related services will include transition planning support.
For each direct service, the student’s IEP must stipulate:
- Which IEP goal is the service attached to?
- How often is the service provided?
- Who is the service provider?
- Where will the service be provided?
- Will an assessment be required, and if so, what type of assessment will be used?
- What type of format will be used — individual, small group, consultation, or collaboration?
Accommodations for a Related Service
Related services must be designed to help the student make meaningful progress in meeting IEP goals and help close the deficit gap with same-age peers. That means participating in and making progress in the general education curriculum, which may include extracurricular and nonacademic activities. IDEA requires that students with special needs are educated alongside and participate with other children without disabilities whenever possible.
Supplemental assistance that is required to allow for the delivery of a related service must be listed in the IEP. This includes the following types of aids and services:
- Physical accommodations and modifications
- Adaptive equipment
- Classroom supports
- Braille transcripts
- Extra adult support in the classroom
Examples of Related Services
Several types of services fall under the heading of related services, including:
- Adaptive physical education (APE)
- Assistive technology (AT)
- Orientation and mobility (O&M)
- Physical therapy
- Audiological services
- Interpretive services
- Parent counseling and training
- Rehabilitation counseling
- Occupational therapy (OT)
- Audiological services
- Psychological services
- Recreational services
- Speech-language pathology (SLP)
- School health and nursing services
- Vision services
Is Your Child with Disabilities Getting the Services They Deserve?
Parents of children with disabilities have the right to request a written plan that spells out how the school will provide services to ensure equal access to education. If your child isn’t receiving the support they require, you are within your rights to seek the legal counsel and guidance of an experienced special needs lawyer.
At Woodsmall Law Group, we serve children with special needs and their parents in Los Angeles County, focusing on the San Gabriel Valley. Our attorneys have been helping families make the most of their educational opportunities for over 18 years.
If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s placement or the services they are receiving, please call (626) 440-0028 to schedule a FREE initial consultation. We speak English, Mandarin, Cantonese, Polish, and Spanish.