A reference sheet for Parent Centers from the
Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR)
This reference list is designed to accompany CPIR’s Brief for Parent Centers on Free Appropriate Public Education and the Dear Colleague Letter on FAPE issued by OSEP on November 16, 2015. The online version of the reference list presents one term or acronym at a time. This page focuses on how IDEA defines the term “related services.” (Note: To print out or share the ENTIRE reference list as one Word or PDF file, use the links at the very top of this page.)
You can use the reference list in staff or board training, to refresh or deepen your understanding of what key terms in IDEA mean, and to find easy-to-read summaries about these terms on CPIR’s site in English and Spanish.
Importance of This Key Term | As the OSEP Dear Colleague Letter on FAPE discusses, pivotal elements in helping children with disabilities achieve to high standards in the general education curriculum for their grade level are the supports they receive in the classroom and elsewhere in the school, especially special education and related services. The related services that a student receives are based upon his or her unique needs related to disability. So it’s important to know what kinds of related services are available and which would appropriately support the student’s learning.
Related services, in brief | Related services help children with disabilities benefit from their special education by providing extra help and support in needed areas, such as speaking or moving. Related services can include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
- speech-language pathology and audiology services
- interpreting services
- psychological services
- physical and occupational therapy
- recreation, including therapeutic recreation
- early identification and assessment of disabilities in children
- counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling
- orientation and mobility services
- medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes
- school health services and school nurse services
- social work services in schools
- parent counseling and training
Where “related services” is defined in IDEA | 34 CFR §300.34. It’s quite a lengthy definition, but we include it further below for your complete reference.
Unofficial definition in Spanish | https://www.parentcenterhub.org/servicios-relacionados
Materials you can share with families and new staff | For a discussion of what related services are, how they help students, and how the IEP Team, including the parent(s) (and the student starting no later than age 16), decides which related services are appropriate for a given student, consider these materials.
FULL DEFINITION of Related Services, as it is defined at §300.34.
§300.34 Related services.
(a) General. Related services means transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education, and includes speech-language pathology and audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, early identification and assessment of disabilities in children, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. Related services also include school health services and school nurse services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training.
(b) Exception; services that apply to children with surgically implanted devices, including cochlear implants.
(1) Related services do not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, the optimization of that device’s functioning (e.g., mapping), maintenance of that device, or the replacement of that device.
(2) Nothing in paragraph (b)(1) of this section—
(i) Limits the right of a child with a surgically implanted device (e.g., cochlear implant) to receive related services (as listed in paragraph (a) of this section) that are determined by the IEP Team to be necessary for the child to receive FAPE.
(ii) Limits the responsibility of a public agency to appropriately monitor and maintain medical devices that are needed to maintain the health and safety of the child, including breathing, nutrition, or operation of other bodily functions, while the child is transported to and from school or is at school; or
(iii) Prevents the routine checking of an external component of a surgically implanted device to make sure it is functioning properly, as required in §300.113(b).
(c) Individual related services terms defined. The terms used in this definition are defined as follows:
(1) Audiology includes—
(i) Identification of children with hearing loss;
(ii) Determination of the range, nature, and degree of hearing loss, including referral for medical or other professional attention for the habilitation of hearing;
(iii) Provision of habilitative activities, such as language habilitation, auditory training, speech reading (lip-reading), hearing evaluation, and speech conservation;
(iv) Creation and administration of programs for prevention of hearing loss;
(v) Counseling and guidance of children, parents, and teachers regarding hearing loss; and
(vi) Determination of children’s needs for group and individual amplification, selecting and fitting an appropriate aid, and evaluating the effectiveness of amplification.
(2) Counseling services means services provided by qualified social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors, or other qualified personnel.
(3) Early identification and assessment of disabilities in children means the implementation of a formal plan for identifying a disability as early as possible in a child’s life.
(4) Interpreting services includes—
(i) The following, when used with respect to children who are deaf or hard of hearing: Oral transliteration services, cued language transliteration services, sign language transliteration and interpreting services, and transcription services, such as communication access real-time translation (CART), C-Print, and TypeWell; and
(ii) Special interpreting services for children who are deaf-blind.
(5) Medical services means services provided by a licensed physician to determine a child’s medically related disability that results in the child’s need for special education and related services.
(6) Occupational therapy—
(i) Means services provided by a qualified occupational therapist; and
(A) Improving, developing, or restoring functions impaired or lost through illness, injury, or deprivation;
(B) Improving ability to perform tasks for independent functioning if functions are impaired or lost; and
(C) Preventing, through early intervention, initial or further impairment or loss of function.
(7) Orientation and mobility services—
(i) Means services provided to blind or visually impaired children by qualified personnel to enable those students to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement within their environments in school, home, and community; and
(ii) Includes teaching children the following, as appropriate:
(A) Spatial and environmental concepts and use of information received by the senses (such as sound, temperature and vibrations) to establish, maintain, or regain orientation and line of travel (e.g., using sound at a traffic light to cross the street);
(B) To use the long cane or a service animal to supplement visual travel skills or as a tool for safely negotiating the environment for children with no available travel vision;
(C) To understand and use remaining vision and distance low vision aids; and
(D) Other concepts, techniques, and tools.
(8)(i) Parent counseling and training means assisting parents in understanding the special needs of their child;
(ii) Providing parents with information about child development; and
(iii) Helping parents to acquire the necessary skills that will allow them to support the implementation of their child’s IEP or IFSP.
(9) Physical therapy means services provided by a qualified physical therapist.
(10) Psychological services includes—
(i) Administering psychological and educational tests, and other assessment procedures;
(ii) Interpreting assessment results;
(iii) Obtaining, integrating, and interpreting information about child behavior and conditions relating to learning;
(iv) Consulting with other staff members in planning school programs to meet the special educational needs of children as indicated by psychological tests, interviews, direct observation, and behavioral evaluations;
(v) Planning and managing a program of psychological services, including psychological counseling for children and parents; and
(vi) Assisting in developing positive behavioral intervention strategies.
(11) Recreation includes—
(i) Assessment of leisure function;
(ii) Therapeutic recreation services;
(iii) Recreation programs in schools and community agencies; and
(iv) Leisure education.
(12) Rehabilitation counseling services means services provided by qualified personnel in individual or group sessions that focus specifically on career development, employment preparation, achieving independence, and integration in the workplace and community of a student with a disability. The term also includes vocational rehabilitation services provided to a student with a disability by vocational rehabilitation programs funded under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 29 U.S.C. 701 et seq.
(13) School health services and school nurse services means health services that are designed to enable a child with a disability to receive FAPE as described in the child’s IEP. School nurse services are services provided by a qualified school nurse. School health services are services that may be provided by either a qualified school nurse or other qualified person.
(14) Social work services in schools includes—
(i) Preparing a social or developmental history on a child with a disability;
(ii) Group and individual counseling with the child and family;
(iii) Working in partnership with parents and others on those problems in a child’s living situation (home, school, and community) that affect the child’s adjustment in school;
(iv) Mobilizing school and community resources to enable the child to learn as effectively as possible in his or her educational program; and
(v) Assisting in developing positive behavioral intervention strategies.
(15) Speech-language pathology services includes—
(i) Identification of children with speech or language impairments;
(ii) Diagnosis and appraisal of specific speech or language impairments;
(iii) Referral for medical or other professional attention necessary for the habilitation of speech or language impairments;
(iv) Provision of speech and language services for the habilitation or prevention of communicative impairments; and
(v) Counseling and guidance of parents, children, and teachers regarding speech and language impairments.
(16) Transportation includes—
(i) Travel to and from school and between schools;
(ii) Travel in and around school buildings; and
(iii) Specialized equipment (such as special or adapted buses, lifts, and ramps), if required to provide special transportation for a child with a disability.
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