An independent education plan (IEP) outlines the services students with disabilities need in order to learn. However, IEPs can also cover supportive services related to your child’s education.
Related services are often essential to your child’s education. They are also critical for their growth and development. That is why it is important to understand how they work.
How do schools provide related services?
There is a wide variety of related services students can obtain under their IEP. In fact, one student alone could have a long list of multiple services, from physical therapy to speech-language services. This can lead many parents to wonder exactly when and how their children will obtain the services they require.
There are generally two options, depending on the service:
- In-classroom services: Many services are available – and essential – in the general classroom. For example, students may need assistive technology or sign language interpretive services to understand the lessons. Teachers or specialists can also provide occupational therapy services, such as guidance or activities to improve handwriting. Many times, California teachers can include accommodations and supports seamlessly in their lessons.
- Outside services: Students might have to obtain some services outside of the general classroom. These often include physical therapy services, counseling and medical services. However, it is important for the IEP team to find a balance between the child’s needs and comfort when planning for these services.
Remember: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that children should receive both education and services in the least restrictive environment possible. This significantly limits the reasons a child could be pulled out of regular classes.
The IEP should cover all the details
Another important thing to remember is that the IEP should directly address the logistics of the services listed in the plan. For example, the IEP should state:
- How often your child will receive a specific service
- Where your child will receive the service (in or out of the classroom)
- When the service will begin and end for the school year
These specific details are necessary to help you keep track of the services– and protect your child’s rights under special education laws.