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Related services are any services which are necessary to help a student benefit from his special education program. The following definition is quoted from federal regulations, but also includes any new related services recently added by amendments to federal special education law
[Title 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1401(a)(17); 34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.16]

As used in this part, the term "related services" means transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a handicapped child to benefit from special education, and includes speech pathology and audiology, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, early identification and assessment of disabilities in children, counseling services, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. The term also includes school health services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training.

As a result of recent amendments to federal law, the definition has been expanded to include rehabilitation counseling. This term is not defined in either the statute or regulations.

1) Audiology includes:
Identification of children with hearing loss

Determination of the range, nature, and degree of hearing loss, including referral for medical or other professional attention for the habilitation of hearing

Provision of habilitative services, such as language habilitation, auditory training, speech reading (lip reading), hearing evaluation, and speech conservation

Creation and administration of programs for prevention of hearing loss

Counseling and guidance of students, parents and teachers regarding hearing loss

Determination of the child's need for group and individual amplification, selecting and fitting an appropriate aid, and evaluating the effectiveness of amplification.

2) Counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, means services provided by qualified social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors, or other qualified personnel.

3) Early identification means the implementation of a formal plan for identifying a disability as early as possible in a child's life.

4) Medical services means services provided by a licensed physician to determine a child's medically related handicapping condition which results in the child's need for special education and related services.

5) Occupational therapy includes:

Improving, developing or restoring functions impaired or lost through illness, injury or deprivation.

Improving ability to perform tasks for independent functioning when functions are impaired or lost.

Preventing, through early intervention, initial or further impairment or loss of function.

6) Parent counseling and training means assisting parents in understanding the special needs of their child and providing parents with information about child development.

7) Physical therapy means services provided by a qualified physical therapist.

8) Psychological services include:

Administering psychological and educational tests, and other assessment procedures.

Interpreting assessment results.

Obtaining, integrating, and interpreting information about child behavior and conditions relating to learning.

Consulting with other staff members in planning school programs to meet the special needs of children as indicated by psychological tests, interviews, and behavioral evaluations.

Planning and managing a program of psychological services, including psychological counseling for children and parents.

9) Recreation includes:

Assessment of leisure function.

Therapeutic recreation services.

Recreation programs in schools and community agencies.

Leisure education.

10) School health services means services provided by a qualified school nurse or other qualified person.

11) Social work services in schools include:

Preparing a social or developmental history on a handicapped child.

Group and individual counseling with the child and family.

Working with those problems in a child's living situation (home, school and community) that affect the child's adjustment in school.

Mobilizing school and community resources to enable the child to receive maximum benefit from his or her educational program.

12) Speech pathology includes:

Identification of children with speech or language disorders.

Diagnosis and appraisal of specific speech or language disorders.

Referral for medical or other professional attention necessary for the habilitation of speech or language disorders.

Provision of speech and language services for the hablitation or prevention of communicative disorders.

Counseling and guidance of parents, children, and teachers regarding speech and language disorders.

13) Transportation includes:

Travel to and from school and between schools.

Travel in and around school buildings.

Specialized equipment (such as special or adapted buses, lifts and ramps), if required to provide special transportation for a handicapped child.

The comment to this regulation states:
The list of related services in not exhaustive and may include other developmental, corrective, or supportive services (such as artistic and cultural programs, and art, music, and dance therapy, if they are required to assist a student with a disability to benefit from special education.

The comment to the regulation further makes clear that not all related services will be required for each individual child. Related services may be provided by persons from varying professional backgrounds. Not all such personnel will be directly employed by school districts; they may be provided by other public agencies or by contracts between school districts and private providers. However, in all cases the state education agency (generally through the local education agencies) is ultimately responsible for ensuring that related services are provided. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.600]

Although not specifically identified as a related service, federal law requires that districts ensure that assistive technology devices and/or services are available to special education students who need them as part of their special education or related services or as part of the supplemental aids and services used to assist them in being placed in the least restrictive environment. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.308]

A school district does not have to provide a service to a student with a disability jsut because he will benefit from the service, or even if he requires the service. The service is only "related" if it is necessary to help him benefit from educational instruction. So just remember, when asking for a "related service" make sure you put it in a way to support it as an "educational" need. An example of this would be if a student and her family requested social work services because of problems at home. Well, if the child's problems are affecting her school work, then the social work services would be a "related" need because of the affect the home problems have on the school work/relations.


Transportation is a related services when it is necessary in order for a student to attend a special education program due to the distance s/he lives from school or his disability. Transportation is also available to and from related services which are not provided at the school stie. Note that while your state may only reimburse school districts for certain types of transportation, the school district cannot use lack of reimbursement as a reason to deny needed services. [34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.16]

Guidelines for determining transportation needs:

The specific needs of the pupil must be the primary consideration when an IEP team is determining any transportation needs. These may include, but are not limited to:

. Medical disagnosis and health needs. Considerastion of whether long bus rides could affect a certain pupil's health (duration, temperature control, need for services, health emergencies, general ability and/or strength to ambulate/wheel. approximate distance from school or the distance needed to walk or wheel oneself to the school, consideration of pupil needs in inclement or very hot weather.

. Physical assessibility. For pupils using wheelchairs who may live close to school or use public transportation, consideration of the physical assessibility of curbs, sidewalks, streets, and public transportation systems.

. Pupil capacity. Consideration of a pupil's capacity to arrive at school on time, to avoid getting lost, to avoid dangerous traffic situations, and to avoid other potentially dangerous or exploitative situations on the way to and from school.

Transportation Option:

Considering the identified needs of the pupil, transportation options may include, but not be limited to: walking, riding the regular school bus, utilizing available public transportation (any out-of-pocket costs to pupil or parents are reimbursed by the local education agency), riding a special bus from a pick up piont, and portal-to- portal special education transportation via a school bus, taxi, reimbursed parent's driving with a parent's voluntary participation, or other mode as determined by the IEP team.

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