Friday, September 3, 2010

Understanding "Related Services" for Children with Disabilities

Related services are fundamental to meet the educational needs of children with disabilities.  They are developed to offer students with disabilities specialized assistance in areas such as speech and language therapies, physical therapies, occupational therapies, counseling, hearing services, mobility services and health services.  

Typically, personnel from the Department of Education (DOE) provide these services while the child is in school. However, this is not always possible and a lot of students end up receiving the services elsewhere. The most common reason for this is when schools run out of providers. When this happens, the DOE looks into associated or contracted agencies in order to offer the services within the school. If they are not able to find any, parents should receive a Related Services Authorization (RSA) letter, which allows them to find an independent provider paid by the DOE.

Parents should contact the schools as early as possible during the semester to find out if their children are receiving the mandated related services.  They should also know that these services are only mandated if they are written on the child’s Individualized Education Program, or IEP

If a child is missing some or all of his or her related services, parents need to contact the district office and request RSA letters. The DOE also provides transportation reimbursement to and from the therapist office, and some therapists are able to travel to the child's home to provide the services. 

When obtaining RSA letters, parents should also receive the list of independent providers with their contact information. Here's a list of related services providers by borough.


Request letters said...

Yes, i agree with this topic. the related services help students very much in there educational career. Hope parents take a massive action when they receive the letters. thanks for sharing and explaining

Sinergia said...

Thank you!