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What are supplementary aids and services?

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | Special Education Law |

Adapting educational materials and providing accommodations are some of the pillars of special education. Some of those accommodations include supplementary aids and services, which are key aspects of special education.

So, what do these services entail? How can they help your child?

A brief look into supplementary services

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) outlines the rights and rules of special education. This federal law states that children in special education should receive these services and supports “to the maximum extent appropriate.”

That is a broad definition. However, California highlights various assistive technologies that students could receive in the classroom or extracurricular settings, including:

  • Keyboards and alternative options, such as a Braille keyboard
  • Screen readers
  • Large print books
  • Adaptive eating and drinking utensils
  • Captioning services
  • Custom seating options
  • Other modifications

The California Department of Education provides a more exhaustive list of these supports. The district must provide the tools and supports necessary to help your child not only learn but function. For example, a child with physical disabilities may require adaptive seating, adaptive writing tools and eating utensils to navigate their school day.

How can my child obtain these aids and services?

It is possible to get these supportive services through:

  • An individualized education program (IEP)
  • The accommodations provided under a 504 plan

The plan your child receives will depend on their individual circumstances, needs and eligibility under IDEA. Regardless of the plan, it is necessary to meet with school staff. Both of these plans have a designated team to address your child’s needs, so supplementary aids are a topic you should address with that team.

If your child does not yet have a plan, then you will have to request an educational evaluation. This will help determine your child’s needs, and what kinds of aids they might need in addition to education modifications. Understanding the various aspects of special education can help you, as a parent or guardian, secure the services your child needs to learn.