Educationally Related Support Services: A Guide for Teachers

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Support Services

Children with special needs will benefit from receiving a package of educationally related support services. Such services are provided free of charge by the child’s school district of residence or by cooperative service agencies. There are a variety of related services that these children can receive. It just takes a savvy teacher or guidance counselor to unearth them.

First, they can receive speech and language services. A child would qualify if, for example, the problem is a speech impediment, a lisp, or maybe even having a hard time forming words. If there is any sort of language problem, the student would also be eligible to receive speech and language services.

Physical therapy and occupational therapy are two other closely related services that children with special needs can receive. This category of services is appropriate for children who have both fine and gross motor difficulties. Physical and occupational therapy services help children who have trouble walking, trouble writing, or maybe just need therapy to get their muscles moving.

Social services can bring huge benefits for children with specific or special needs. They can be for children who have social skills difficulties or those who have dealt with trauma in their life. They can help children who need to work on hygiene issues. These interrelated services work wonders for children with low-functioning autism, emotional disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even students who just have a hard time dealing with school. Social services are great for students who really need a person they can vent to, someone who will help them deal with issues that could interfere with their education. Counseling also falls under this category.

If a child with special needs also has a language barrier, an interpreter can make a huge difference. This would allow the student to have their own interpreter in the classroom in order to make their day go a little smoother. Consider this as an adjunct service if someone in the student’s home has a language barrier, also.

Transportation is also another important service. For example, if a child has a wheelchair and needs a special bus in order to get them to and from school or extracurricular activities, try looking into what services might be available from the local school board or even from the local Job and Family Services office.

For children who seem to have hearing difficulties, the teacher can schedule them to see an audiologist. An audiologist will come to the school in order to provide them the support that they need. The same is true of vision screening or even dental screening.

It needs to be noted that assistive technology is not considered a related service. Related services are thought of as being provided by someone other than the child’s teacher–for example, therapists. Those people are not always employed by the child’s school district, but you may be able to find funding to pay for them.

The need for these services, related through the educational system, should be idenitfied in the child’s IEP. The team needs to make the decision regarding which services would be appropriate and possible for the child. The key is to relate the needs for these services with the child’s ability to meet his educational goals. The IEP team must also decide on an appropriate frequency and duration of the service to be provided–for example thirty minutes per week, or two times per month. As with any IEP decision, the IEP team must agree on the educationally related support services. The IEP team includes the parents, teachers, administrators, collateral service providers, and sometimes the student.