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Understanding Special Education Related Services

Posted by Brian Spence on May 19, 2020 10:30:11 AM

Special Education, Behavioral HealthOccupational therapy (OT), speech therapy, and physical therapy (PT) are the most common special education related services. In a school setting, the primary purpose of these services is to help special education students access and make progress in the curriculum. Offering direct services to students is just part of the job for related service providers. They also show teachers and parents ways to help students boost their skills.

Not every student in special education requires related services. Before a student begins receiving these services, the related service providers evaluate the student to determine if there's a need for services and what skill deficits are present. Based on the evaluation, the student's Individual Education Plan (IEP) team creates IEP goals for the appropriate related services.

Occupational Therapy

A school occupational therapist helps students participate in school-based daily living activities. For students to reach the OT goals from their IEP, the occupational therapist may have to work on cognitive, social, self-care, sensory-processing, or physical skills. For example, an occupational therapist may help special educations students with writing, school-based dressing routines, making friends, paying attention in class, or vocational skills.

Speech Therapy

In a school setting, a speech-language pathologist deals with speech, language, and communication issues that keep students from accessing the curriculum. A school speech-language pathologist may treat difficulties like:

  • Stuttering
  • Pronouncing sounds
  • Expressing language
  • Listening and understanding
  • Vocabulary
  • Syntax
  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Spelling
  • Speaking too loudly or too softly

Also, school speech-language pathologists assist students to improve cognitive skills like imagination, memory, reasoning, and judgment.

Physical Therapy

At school, a physical therapist supports skills related to accessing the environment. A special education student's PT goals may include working on mobility, postural control, self-care, motor skills, safety, or sensory-processing.

If you're a physical therapist, speech-language pathologist, or occupational therapist, contact us to discuss career opportunities.

To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Behavioral Health, Education, and Healthcare sections of our blog.



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Staffing Plus is a premier healthcare staffing firm that provides temporary, per diem, temp-to-hire and permanent Staffing Solutions for Behavioral Health, Education, and Healthcare settings. We have leveraged decades of experience to assist organizations with the challenges of managing their HR and Recruiting needs.