At the beginning of each school year, parents and teachers are presented with an IEP for each special education child. One important part that parents should take note of on this paperwork is the area of related services. According to the language of the IEP, related services and supplemental aids should be given to the child as backed up by research to help them meet their goals and progress in their education. These services can also be used to help them interact with their peers. While you may understand that these services are required to be provided as needed according to law, you may be unaware of what a related service is.
Related services can fall into several different categories. Some include medical services and therapies, such as physical, occupational or speech therapy. Some cover mental aspects of health, such as counseling. Others work with social needs, such as recreation therapy. Other common services that may be needed include audiology, interpreter services, and psychological services.
Once teachers, school administrators, parents, and other professionals decide on what related service is needed, they must then come up with an exact plan of how it should be used. The IEP should list not only the needed related service but should also detail how long the service will last, when it will start and where it will be given. The only way to change these decisions will be to hold a new IEP meeting and get the agreement of all interested parties.