Understanding Compliance Issues Manual RELATED SERVICES (February 2014)

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1 Understanding Compliance Issues Manual RELATED SERVICES (February 2014) What the law says: 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. (34 CFR ) Related services may also mean transition services needed for the coordination of activities for students to promote movement from school to post-school activities. The IDEA includes a list of services that are considered related services. The IDEA specifically indicates that all related services may not be required for each individual child and that the list is not exhaustive and may include other developmental, corrective, or supportive services. While not defined in the related services section of IDEA, assistive technology is referred to as services that are made available to a student with a disability as part of the child s special education, related services, or supplementary aids and services. The individual educational plan (IEP) must include a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals; to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; and to be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and nondisabled children (34 CFR ) The IEP Team should consider the need for related services in all of the settings in which education is provided to the student. The priority educational needs and annual goals/transition goals will guide the IEP Team in making decisions about the needed related services for an individual student. Related services are only required if they are needed to assist the child with a disability in benefiting from special education in order for the child to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The IEP team makes the decision of which related services should be provided and that decision is based on the components of the IEP including assessment/evaluation/reevaluation results, present level of educational performance, annual goals and short term objectives or benchmarks, and special education services needed to meet the goals and objectives (or benchmarks). What Are the Steps? Step One: The IEP Team convenes, following all rules and regulations, and develops and/or revises the IEP, as applicable. The IEP Team identifies the special education and related services needed for a student with a disability to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The decisions are not based on a student s particular disability or exceptional student education (ESE) eligibility category or the availability of resources. The IEP Team determines which related services are required for the student to facilitate academic, functional, social/interpersonal, or emotional/behavioral progress and for the student to benefit from special education. The IEP Team utilizes best practices in its decision-making process, including referencing the flow charts specific to addressing the related services of speech/language therapy, occupational therapy and/or physical therapy. Step Two: Related services are documented in Section XI of the IEP. 1

2 Step Three: At the conclusion of the meeting, all required notices are provided to the parents, including the Notice of Intent to Change form (SB89035), when applicable, to address any proposals for a change in identification, evaluation, educational placement and/or the provision of a FAPE (free appropriate public education). The addition or discontinuation of a related service, or a change in the amount of time that a related service will be provided, such as a change in the amount of time that speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, and/or physical therapy will be provided, is considered a change in FAPE. Step Four: Service providers maintain data related to the provision of special education and related services and the progress of the student. This information is utilized at the subsequent IEP meeting so that any needed IEP revisions may be addressed appropriately by the IEP Team. Guiding Questions for Determining the Need for a Related Service: What are the challenges that the student is experiencing? Have these challenges been addressed through the use of interventions/strategies? What does the available data reveal about the student s needs? Has the IEP Team considered whether the challenges are impacted by factors other than the student s disability? Do the challenges require the expertise of a related services provider? Considerations for the IEP Team After Answering the Guiding Questions: In developing/revising the IEP, determine whether the goals of the student s draft or existing IEP address the current needs of the student as impacted by his/her disability. If they do not, develop or revise the goals to address the student s needs. If they do, describe the IEP goals, and: discuss classroom-based strategies or interventions and their effectiveness; and discuss which related services might be needed to enable the student to benefit from special education. If data and evaluation/reevaluation results indicate the eligibility process* should be addressed, schedule and conduct an eligibility staffing/iep Team meeting. (*The eligibility process addresses whether or not the student meets criteria for a specific ESE Program, per Florida Statutes and State Board of Education Rules.) THE FOLLOWING CHARTS PROVIDE A GUIDE FOR IEP TEAMS IN DECISION-MAKING PRACTICES REGARDING THE NEED FOR SPEECH/LANGUAGE THERAPY AS A RELATED SERVICE AND/OR THE NEED FOR THE RELATED SERVICES OF OCCUPATIONAL AND/OR PHYSICAL THERAPY: 2

3 3

4 Students Not Yet Identified as Requiring OT/PT Related Services School personnel contacts OT/PT office regarding parent/school concerns related to student s difficulty accessing exceptional education services/environment (OR when concerns being addressed during an initial ESE evaluation require the expertise of OT/PT personnel). Therapist schedules and conducts student observation and provides recommendations, as applicable, according to observation protocol. If strategies are successful, OT/PT will follow up informally, as needed. If concerns continue, the IEP Team, including OT/PT, will convene to discuss possible need for OT/PT services, and all applicable reevaluation procedures are followed. (For students who are being addressed via initial ESE evaluation, the initial ESE evaluation process continues, as applicable.) Doctor s orders (required for PT only), are provided to PT as soon as possible. Upon completion of OT/PT assessment. OT/PT provides reports/documents to ESE Case Manager. ESE Case Mgr compiles packet, as applicable to evaluation/reevaluation process, and provides to Staffing Specialist. Staffing Specialist will then schedule for IEP Team to reconvene with OT/PT personnel included. The IEP Team will discuss all information and need for OT/PT service. Review/revise/develop IEP, as applicable. OT/PT Services for In State Transfers ESE Case Manager notifies OT/PT personnel so that comparable OT/PT services may be provided pending HCPS IEP meeting*. IEP Team convenes with OT/PT personnel to develop Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) IEP for the student, using all available data*. The IEP process is completed, in alignment with all regulations and best practices guidelines, including a discussion of any reevaluation needs, as applicable. If the HCPS IEP proposes a change in educational placement and/or a change in the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE), an Informed Notice of Intent to Change form must be completed and provided to the parents. *The PT will follow up on obtaining a copy of Florida doctor s orders from previous Florida school district. OT/PT Services for Out of State Transfers District/school personnel notify OT/PT personnel so that comparable OT/PT services may be provided pending HCPS IEP meeting. NOTE: PT comparable services cannot be provided until receipt of Florida doctor s orders, per State statute. PT will follow up in obtaining Florida doctor s orders. ESE Case Manager provides packet to Staffing Specialist with all available data. Staffing Specialist schedules and facilitates IEP Team meeting to include OT/PT and all needed personnel to develop Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) IEP using all available data. The IEP process is completed in alignment with all regulations and best practices guidelines including a discussion of reevaluation needs. Reevaluation needs discussion must include the need for OT/PT assessment by Florida licensed therapist(s), in alignment with State Board of Education Rule (SBR 6A ) which addresses this requirement for the provision of OT/PT as a related service. NOTE: In the event that the parent does not provide written consent for the reevaluation (SB34504), to include OT/PT assessment, then the IEP Team must address removal of OT/PT as a related services, per SBR 6A Upon completion of OT/PT assessment, OT/PT provides reports/documents to ESE Case Manager. ESE Case Mgr schedules IEP Team meeting to include OT/PT personnel, or ESE Case Mgr provided packet to Staffing Specialist if Staffing assistance is needed. The IEP Team will discuss all information and need for OT/PT service. Review/revise IEP, as applicable. If the HCPS IEP proposes a change in educational placement and/or a change in the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE), then an Informed Notice of Intent to Change form (SB89035) must be completed and provided to the parents. 4

5 RELATED SERVICES Questions and Answers 1. What related services are included in the list of related services described in the IDEA? The list of related services in the IDEA includes the following: counseling services; early identification and assessment of disabilities in children; medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes; occupational therapy; orientation and mobility services; parent counseling and training; physical therapy; psychological services, recreation, including therapeutic recreation; rehabilitative counseling; school health services; social work services in school; speech-language pathology; and transportation. 2. How is the need for related services determined? The provision of related services for students with disabilities is intended to facilitate participation in educational programs. The need for related services is determined by the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) Team. Related services are services that are needed by the student for access to his/her exceptional educational program. Federal regulations indicate that if the IEP Team determines that related services are needed, they must be provided whether or not commonly linked to the disability category. The only exception to this general rule is the provision of orientation and mobility training, which is a related service specifically for students with visual impairments. 3. May any related service be included on the student s initial IEP? Yes, related services are provided for exceptional students who need the service to benefit from special education. In order to receive a related service, the student must have been determined eligible for an ESE program. Once this determination has been made, the IEP Team may determine the need for a related service, even at the initial IEP meeting for the student. 4. If a student meets the dismissal criteria for special education, but continues to need a related service, such as occupational therapy or physical therapy, can the student be placed on consultative status in order to continue to receive the related service? No. If a student has been reevaluated and is no longer a student with a disability in need of special education services, the student is no longer eligible to receive related services. The role of related services is to enable the student to benefit from special education in order to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) (34 CFR ). 5. Must all related services be direct services or is consultation a type of related service, also? Related services may involve direct and/or indirect services. Consultation is considered a service delivery option for a related service. Based on the definition provided in the Matrix of Services Handbook (2004), consultation occurs when general education teachers and ESE teachers meet regularly to plan, implement, and monitor instructional alternatives designed to ensure that the student with an exceptionality is successful in the general education classroom. This may involve conversing with teachers regarding language instruction/intervention strategies to use within the classroom. Consultation is a type of service delivery model for all areas of exceptionality, both for ESE programs and for related services. IEP Teams should discuss and determine which service delivery model will best meet a student s needs. 6. Is an assessment required prior to determining the need for occupational therapy or physical therapy as a related service? Yes, per State Board of Education Rule 6A , an assessment is required. 7. Is an assessment required prior to determining the need for speech/language therapy as a related service? The decision should be data-driven and made on a case-by-case basis by the IEP Team. The IEP Team should be able to demonstrate the need for the related services based on data. The data utilized 5

6 may be: evaluation results; progress, or lack of progress made, relevant to the services the student is currently receiving or has received in the past; the student s response to specific interventions; and parent input on communication skills observed in the home or other environments. If additional data is needed in the form of assessment, the IEP Team must follow the reevaluation procedures, including requesting informed written parental consent for reevaluation. 8. Must a speech therapist, occupational therapist or physical therapist be a member of any IEP Team that determines speech therapy, occupational therapy or physical therapy as a related service for the student? The applicable therapist for the type of therapy being considered should be a member of the IEP Team, and is strongly encouraged. This best practice is critical so that sound decisions will be made on behalf of the student. 9. Which students should be considered for the provision of counseling as related services? Counseling services as related services may include individual or group counseling with the student and family, psychological counseling for students and parents/families, and crisis prevention and intervention. Counseling services, in this context, are services provided by qualified social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors or other qualified personnel. A student with any disability may be considered for counseling as a related service if the IEP Team determines such support is needed to facilitate academic, functional, social/interpersonal, or emotional/behavioral progress and for the student to benefit from special education. 10. Does every student with an emotional/behavioral disability (E/BD) need counseling as a related service? Not necessarily, but many students identified as having an E/BD may need counseling services to benefit from special education. In particular, a student with an E/BD who is receiving all of his or her ESE services in a separate class, separate school, or other restrictive setting may need counseling as a related service to facilitate transition to a less restrictive setting. The IEP team should continually assess what constitutes the least restrictive environment (LRE) for a student and the supports needed to sustain student success in that environment and plan accordingly. 11. If a student is currently receiving ESE services, what is the procedure for discontinuing a related service? This decision must be made during an IEP meeting and based on current, documented information regarding the student s progress and need for the related service. Common criteria for discontinuation of a related service include successful achievement in the general curriculum without support of the related service, and progression to a level commensurate with the student s ability. At the conclusion of the IEP meeting, the parent must be provided prior written notice of a proposed change in services before services cease, and the IEP team must revise the student s IEP, as appropriate. 12. If a student is currently receiving ESE services, what is the procedure for adding a related service? The IEP Team must convene and discuss the available data and whether any additional data is needed to determine the need for a related service. If an assessment(s) is(are) needed, the IEP Team must discuss the reevaluation needs and determine which assessment(s) is(are) needed. The parent is informed of the reevaluation needs and asked to provide written informed consent for the reevaluation. Before adding the related service of occupational or physical therapy, an assessment by a licensed therapist must be administered, per State Board of Education Rule 6A When all needed information is available, the IEP Team must determine which related services are required to assist the student to benefit from special education. The parent participation notice for the IEP meeting must indicate the reason for the meeting; such as to discuss a change in FAPE (services). The District does not need to obtain new parental consent for placement. The student s IEP must be revised as appropriate, and a written informed notice of a proposed change of FAPE must be provided to the 6

7 parent. Before adding a related service, such as a behavioral service, orientation and mobility, or counseling, the IEP team must meet to review current, documented information regarding the student s progress and need for the related service. The parent participation notice for the IEP meeting must indicate the reason for the meeting. The reevaluation process is not required unless additional data (e.g., formal testing, individual assessment) are necessary to make the determination. The student s IEP must be revised, as appropriate, and a written notice of a change in FAPE provided to the parent. 13. What constitutes a change in FAPE (free appropriate public education)? FAPE is considered changed when services provided to a student significantly change. Simply changing IEP goals and objectives or benchmarks is not considered a change in FAPE. However, a change in supplementary aides or services such as the addition or deletion of a related service, a change in counseling services from three times a week to once a month, or the provision of an additional adult assistance for the student are examples of a change in FAPE. 7

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