A Closer Look At Specific Related Services (page 4)
Part II. A Closer Look at Specific Related Services
Perhaps the best way to develop an understanding of related services is to look at each in more detail. Because there are quite a few services that can be considered as "related services" the information presented about each of the following related services is intended only as an introduction. It is not the intent of this document, just as it is not the intent of the law, to exhaustively describe each related service. It may be helpful, however, to read further about the services in order to know what related services are most commonly provided to students with disabilities and, in some situations, their families. The related services described below are organized in alphabetical order.
Artistic/cultural programs are specifically mentioned in Attachment 1 of the Federal regulations for IDEA '97 as "other developmental, corrective, or supportive services (such as artistic and cultural programs, art, music, and dance therapy) if they are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education in order for the child to receive FAPE" (U.S. Department of Education, 1999, p. 12548). Artistic and cultural programs are designed by art therapists, dance therapists, and music therapists to address the individual needs of students with disabilities. These professionals:
- assess the functioning of individual students;
- design programs appropriate to the needs and abilities of students;
- provide services in which music, movement, or art is used in a therapeutic process to further the child's emotional, physical, cognitive, and/or academic development or integration; and
- often act as resource persons foreclassroom teachers.
Art therapy with disabilities with a means of self-expression and opportunities to expand personal creativity and control. By involving students with art and the creative art process, art therapists work to help students address their unique needs, which may include resolving emotional conflicts, developing self-awareness or social skills, managing behavior, solving problems, reducing anxiety, and improving self-esteem (American Art Therapy Association, 2000).
Dance/movement therapy movement as a means for promoting personal growth and furthering the emotional, cognitive, and physical integration of an individual (American Dance Therapy Association, 2000). Dance therapy can develop and promote good posture, discipline, concentration, coordination, agility, speed, balance, strength, and endurance.
Music therapy music-related strategies to assist or motivate a student to reach specific educational goals as well as address his or her physical, psychological, cognitive, behavioral, and social needs (American Music Therapy Association, 2000). Music and music learning are often used to strengthen nonmusical areas such as academic skills, physical coordination, communication, sensory-motor development, expression of emotions, and stress reduction.
Assistive Technology Devices and Services
Assistive technology (AT) refers to various types of devices and services designed to help students with disabilities function within their environments. Many areas are covered under the umbrella of assistive technology, including computers, adaptive toys and games, devices to improve positioning and mobility, devices designed to help individuals with disabilities communicate (called augmentative communication devices and electronic aids to daily living (RESNA Technical Assistance Project, 1992).
An assistive technology device means "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability" (§300.5). Assistive technology devices may be used for personal care, sensory processing of information, communication, mobility, or leisure. For young children, assistive technology may involve adaptive toys or simple computer software games to stimulate eye-hand coordination (Derer, Polsgrove, & Rieth, 1996). For other children, it may involve adaptive eating utensils, electronic augmentative communication devices, or a voice-activated word processing software program.
An assistive technology service means "...any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device" (§300.6). School districts are responsible for helping individuals with disabilities select and acquire appropriate assistive technology devices and for training them in their use, if doing so is necessary for them to receive FAPE (§300.308). Such services include:
- evaluating a child's needs, including a functional evaluation in the child's customary environment;
- purchasing, leasing, or otherwiseproviding for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by children with disabilities;
- selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;
- coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices (such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs);
- training or technical assistance for a child with a disability or, if appropriate, the child's family; and
- training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education or rehabilitation services); employers; or other individuals who provide services to, employ, or are substantially involved in the major functions of that child. (§300.6)
Rothstein and Everson (1995) suggest several guidelines for decision making regarding assistive technology, including:
- look for simple solutions;
- consider the learning and work style of the student; consider the long-range implications of the student's disability and the device;
- look at each device for ease of use and maintenance, timeliness, adaptability, portability, dependability, durability, and technical support needed;
- investigate all options;
- compare similar devices from different manufacturers, and
- purchase devices only after consulting with a professional.
Consideration of a child's need for assistive technology devices and services occurs on a case-by-case basis in connection with the development of a child's IEP. Thus, when an IEP of a student with a disability is being developed, reviewed, or revised (if appropriate), the IEP team must determine his or her need for an assistive technology device or service, determine those devices that will facilitate the student's education, and list them in the IEP. The public agency must then provide them to the student at no cost to the parents.
May a child use a school-purchased AT device in his or her home or other setting? According to the IDEA '97's final regulations, the answer to this question would be determined on a case-by-case basis. Such use in nonschool settings would be "required if the child's IEP team determines that the child needs access to those devices in order to receive FAPE" [§300.308(b)]—for example, to complete homework. Question 36 of Appendix A of the regulations adds that "the parents cannot be charged for normal use, wear and tear. However, while ownership of the devices in these circumstances would remain with the public agency, State law, rather than Part B [of IDEA], generally would govern whether parents are liable for loss, theft, or damage due to negligence or misuse of publicly owned equipment used at home or in other settings in accordance with a child's IEP" (U.S. Department of Education, 1999, p. 12479).
- identifying children with hearing loss;
- determining the range, nature, and degree of hearing loss, including referral for medical or other professional attention for the habilitation of hearing;
- providing habilitative activities, such as language habilitation, auditory training, speech reading (lip-reading), hearing evaluation,and speech conservation;
- creating and administering programs for prevention of hearing loss;
- counseling and guidance of children, parents, and teachers regarding hearing loss; and
- determining children's needs for group and individual amplification, selecting and fitting an appropriate aid, and evaluating the effectiveness of amplification. [§300.24(b)(1)]
Some schools have hearing screening programs and staff trained to conduct audiologic screenings of children. Others may participate in regional cooperatives or other arrangements that provide audiological services. Those school districts that do not have diagnostic facilities to evaluate students for hearing loss and related communication problems or central auditory processing disorders may refer students to a clinical setting, such as a hospital or audiology clinic, or make other contractual arrangements (American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, personal communication, August 1, 2000).
Counseling services, according to the American School Counselor Association (1999), focus on the needs, interests, and issues related to various stages of student growth. School counselors may help students with personal and social concerns such as developing self-knowledge, making effective decisions, learning health choices, and improving responsibility. Counselors may also help students with future planning related to setting and reaching academic goals, developing a positive attitude toward learning, and recognizing and utilizing academic strengths. Other counseling services may include parent counseling and training and rehabilitation counseling (that is, counseling specific to career development and employment preparation) (Maag & Katsiyannis, 1996).
Counseling services are services provided by qualified social workers, psychologists, guidance counselors, or other qualified personnel [§300.24(b)(2)]. A school counselor is a certified professional who meets the State's certification standards. In some schools, the counselor may also perform some functions similar to those of the school psychologist as described below under Psychological Services
Medical services are considered a related service only under specific conditions. By definition, the term "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" [§300.24(b)(4)]. Thus, medical services are provided (a) by a licensed physician, and (b) for diagnostic or evaluation purposes only.
Occupational therapy (OT) services can enhance a student's ability to function in an educational program. These services are "provided by a qualified occupational therapist" and include:
- "improving, developing, or restoring functions impaired or lost through illness, injury, or deprivation;
- improving [a child's] ability to perform tasks for independent functioning if functions are impaired or lost; and
- preventing, through early intervention, initial or further impairment or loss of function" [§300.24(b)(5)].
Occupational therapy services in schools may include such services as:
- self-help skills or adaptive living (e.g., eating, dressing);
- functional mobility (e.g., moving safely through school);
- positioning (e.g., sitting appropriately in class);
- sensory-motor processing (e.g., using the senses and muscles);
- fine motor (e.g., writing, cutting) and gross motor performance (e.g., walking, athletic skills);
- life skills training/vocational skills; and
- psychosocial adaptation.
Orientation and Mobility Services
According to Hill and Snook-Hill (1996), orientation involves knowing where you are, where you are going, and how to get to a destination by interpreting information in the environment, while mobility involves moving safely through the environment. IDEA '97 added orientation and mobility (O&M) services to the list of related services specified at §300.24.
O&M services "services provided to blind or visually impaired students by qualified personnel to enable those students to attain systematic orientation to and safe movement within their environments in school, home, and community" [§300.24(b) (6)(i)]. This includes teaching students the following, as appropriate:
- "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 to cross the street);
- to use the long cane to supplement visual travel skills or as a tool for safely negotiating the environment for students with no available travel vision;
- to understand and use remaining visual and distance low vision aids; and
- other concepts, techniques, and tools." [§300.24(b)(6)(ii)]
Attachment 1 to the regulations discusses why O&M services are not appropriate for students with disabilities other than visual impairments and draws a distinction between O&M services and what is commonly referred to as travel training.
[S]ome children with disabilities other than visual impairments need travel training if they are to safely and effectively move within and outside their school environment, but these students (e.g., children with significant cognitive disabilities) do not need orientation and mobility services as that term is defined in these regulations. 'Orientation and mobility services' is a term of art that is expressly related to children with visual impairments, and includes services that must be provided by qualified personnel who are trained to work with those children. (U.S. Department of Education, 1999, p. 12549)
Thus, children with disabilities other than those with visual impairments who need assistance in learning how to safely navigate a variety of settings would generally not receive O&M services but, rather, travel training. Travel training is defined in the IDEA '97 final regulations at §300.26(b)(4), as part of the definition of "special education." The term means "providing instruction, as appropriate, to children with significant cognitive disabilities, and any other children with disabilities who require this instruction, to enable them to
(i) Develop an awareness of the environment in which they live; and
(ii) Learn the skills necessary to move effectively and safely from place to place within that environment (e.g., in school, in the home, at work, and in the community)." [§300.26(b)(4)]
Parent Counseling and Training
Parent counseling and training is an important related service that can help parents enhance the vital role they play in the lives of their children. When necessary to help an eligible student with a disability benefit from the educational program, parent counseling and training can include:
- Assisting parents in understanding the special needs of their child;
- Providing parents with information about child development; and
- Helping parents to acquire the necessary skills that will allow them to support the implementationof their child's IEP or IFSP" [Individualized Family Service Plan]. [§300.24(b)(7)]
The last aspect—that of helping parents acquire necessary skills to support the implementation of their child's IEP or IFSP—is new in IDEA '97 and was added to:
...recognize the more active role acknowledged for parents...[as] very important participants in the education process for their children. Helping them gain the skills that will enable them to help their children meet the goals and objectives of their IEP or IFSP will be a positive change for parents, will assist in furthering the education of their children, and will aid the schools as it will create opportunities to build reinforcing relationships between each child's educational program and out-ofschool learning. (U.S. Department of Education, 1999, p. 12549)
Reprinted with the permission of the National Dissemination Center.
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