Parents might be familiar with the details of individualized education programs (IEP) or 504 plans, and the educational services they provide to their children with disabilities.
However, it is critical for California parents to be aware of the additional related services their child can obtain and benefit from under these plans as well.
What extra services can children benefit from?
Under the terms of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), related services include various programs to help the child benefit the most from special education.
One of the most common examples of these services is accessible transportation. This related service under the child’s IEP might send a school bus with a ramp and other specialized equipment to pick up children who use wheelchairs, or similar devices.
Other related services children might qualify for also include developmental and supportive services such as:
- Audiology and interpreting services
- Speech-language pathology
- Psychological services
- Physical and occupational therapy
- Rehabilitation and recreation
These can also include some social work and health services.
How do you decide what services children receive?
The child’s IEP team will determine what related services might be necessary from:
- Reviewing the notes and results of the initial IEP evaluation
- Continuing to assess the child’s developmental needs as time goes on
It is one of the IEP team’s responsibilities to determine when, how and where children will obtain these related services as well. For example, they might take time out of the child’s school day to help them with speech pathology, or an occupational therapist might work with their classroom teacher to improve certain skills.
Parents should understand all of the services their child can benefit from under IDEA – as well as other state and federal laws – to ensure their child can make the most of their education.