What Are Related Services? Part 2 of 3


Today’s blog is the second in a three-part series.  In this series we are discussing the related services component of the ARD (IEP) document.  In today’s post we are going to look at common related services and their definition according to IDEA.  In first post of this series I discussed related services in general including the definition of related services.  In final post of this series, I will discuss how to obtain related services for your child. Continue reading

What Are Related Services? Part 1 of 3


Today’s blog is the first in a three part series.  We will be discussing the related services component of the ARD (IEP) document.  In today’s post I am going to give you the definition of related services according to IDEA.  In the next post I am going to list out some of the common related services and their definitions.  The third post will explain how to get related services for you child.

Your child’s ARD (IEP) document must contain a statement of the supplementary aides and related services that your child is receiving.  Related services are services that are necessary for your child to benefit from their special education program.  They can help your child access the general education curriculum, meet their IEP goals, and/or participate in extracurricular and nonacademic activities.

Related services can be either through direct or indirect (consultative) methods.  These services can be provided in your child’s classroom, through pull out services, before or after school or in your home (in home training).   They can be provided individually or in a group.  Related services are not disability specific are meant to meet the individual needs of the child.  The third part of this series will cover the provision of related services in more detail.

According to IDEA:

Sec. 300.34 Related services.

(a) General. Related services means transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education, and includes speech-language pathology and audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, early identification and assessment of disabilities in children, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. Related services also include school health services and school nurse services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training.

Related Services does not include:

(b) Exception; services that apply to children with surgically implanted devices, including cochlear implants.

(1) Related services do not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, the optimization of that device’s functioning (e.g., mapping), maintenance of that device, or the replacement of that device.

(2) Nothing in paragraph (b)(1) of this section– (i) Limits the right of a child with a surgically implanted device (e.g., cochlear implant) to receive related services (as listed in paragraph (a) of this section) that are determined by the IEP Team to be necessary for the child to receive FAPE.

(ii) Limits the responsibility of a public agency to appropriately monitor and maintain medical devices that are needed to maintain the health and safety of the child, including breathing, nutrition, or operation of other bodily functions, while the child is transported to and from school or is at school; or

(iii) Prevents the routine checking of an external component of a surgically-implanted device to make sure it is functioning properly, as required in Sec. 300.113(b).

This post is intended to give you a general idea of the law.  However, each situation is different.  If you need more specific information about how the law applies to your situation you should contact a special education attorney.  


“IDEA – Building The Legacy of IDEA 2004.” IDEA – Building The Legacy of IDEA 2004, idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,regs,300,A,300%252E34.

BOCES, Erie 1. “What are related services for students with disabilities and how are they.” Erie 1 BOCES > Home, http://www.e1b.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=n7uCRE5KYeA%3D&tabid=2978&mid=5432.

“The Individuals with Disabilities Education.” PACER Center – Assistance for Children with Disabilities, Bullying Prevention, Parent Workshops, http://www.pacer.org/parent/php/php-c181.pdf.

“Related Services.” Center for Parent Information and Resources, http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/iep-relatedservices/.

The 13 Federal Mandates Related to IEP Goals


I came across this guide and found it very informative in breaking down IEP goals and the mandates that are tied to them.

This SMARTER Steps Federal Mandate Guide is for school staff and parents. It reviews the 13 federal requirements of Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals in user-friendly format. The legal jargon and expectations can be overwhelming to teams. This Guide helps teams understand the 13 federal mandates surrounding goal development. This Guide can help teams create compliant IEP goals so students have success.

You can find more resources on their website.

This post is intended to give you a general idea of the law.  However, each situation is different.  If you need more specific information about how the law applies to your situation you should contact a special education attorney.  

Toolbox Tips for Parents #8: Back-To-School

back-to-schoolI was in Wal-Mart earlier this week and noticed that school supplies are already making their way into the shopping carts of parents.  I thought now would be a good time to give some back-to-school tips to help parents be prepared for the upcoming school year. Continue reading

U.S. Department of Education Releases Guidance on Civil Rights of Students with ADHD



According to a press release  from the U.S. Department of Education’s  Office of Civil Rights (OCR) The guidanceContinue reading

Problem Report Worksheet

Do you keep track of all the times your child’s school calls you to report an incident or behavior?  If not, you may want to consider doing so.  A great tool to use is the Problem Report WorksheetContinue reading

Toolbox Tips for Parents #7: Scholarships and Grants for ABA Services in the Greater Houston Area

tipsOrganizations to Help Pay for ABA Services:

United Healthcare Children’s Foundation– The UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation (UHCCF) is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that provides medical grants to help children gain access to health-related services not covered, or not fully covered, by their family’s commercial health insurance plan.

DARS Autism Program– Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is the fastest growing serious, developmental disability, affecting an estimated 1 out of 68 children in the United States. With this number growing at a significant rate, there continues to be an unmet need for services. The DARS Autism Program was developed in an effort to mitigate this need. The program champions excellence in the delivery of services for families of children with autism. Services are provided through grant contracts with local community agencies and organizations that provide applied behavioral analysis (ABA) and other positive behavior support strategies. The program helps improve the quality of life for children on the autism spectrum and their families.

Susie Bean Gives– Dr. R. Layla Salek  founded Susie Bean Gives in order to help families with children with Autism and Mental Illness receive expensive and necessary services. As a Behaviorist and daughter of mental illness, she understands there are millions of families needing support, information, medication, behavioral therapy, counseling, health insurance, and respite care for their children living with various behavior disorders.  Since 2001 she has dedicated her professional career to helping children with Mental Illness and Autism in Texas and surrounding areas.  It is apparent to her that these services are expensive and no one agency has enough funding, staff, knowledge, or compassion to help these families in need.

Masonic Home and School of Texas–  MHS partners with charitable organizations, medical professionals, and educational facilities to provide safety, comfort, food, shelter, health care, and educational services – basic needs every child and family deserves.

The only requirements for assistance to a child or family are financial need and Texas residency. Masonic affiliation is given priority. We want to help as many children and families as possible, but our funding is limited. Please complete our application, so that we may consider helping you. Check our Frequently Asked Questions section or call us at 1-877-203-9111 for more information.

F.A.C.E.S.- The recipients of FACES scholarships have used the funds for various things—tuition at schools which focus on ABA therapy, purchasing ABA approved learning aids for centers and schools, furthering ABA training for staff members, and tuition for summer programs at ABA centers and schools.

Variety The Children’s Charity of Texas– At Variety, we believe that every child with special needs deserves to reach their potential regardless of their social or physical limitations.  By providing funding for therapy, wheelchairs, walkers, specially designed adaptive bicycles, vehicle modification for wheelchair accessibility, prosthetic limbs, life experiences like throwing out the first pitch at a major league baseball game, or even going to the movies for the first time, we aim to strengthen not only a child’s physical abilities, but their confidence as well.

Hope for Three (Ft. Bend County Residents Only)- Hope For Three is a rapidly expanding local nonprofit focusing solely on autism and no other disability. Established in 2011 the organization has two primary focus areas: 1) creating awareness through outreach, education, and events; 2) providing resources and financial support exclusively to families with children on the autism spectrum.

Talk About Curing Autism– Since 2006, TACA has provided medical scholarships to families living with autism. These scholarships help families pay for physician-prescribed services, and include stop gap medical treatments, independent assessments, and other necessary crisis funding. We continue to work hard to find scholarship opportunities that will help eligible families speed up the cycle time from the autism diagnosis to effective treatments.

Autism Rescue Angel’s– Autism Rescue Angels is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit striving to provide immediate financial assistance to autism families in the Houston area for medical, educational or respite needs and to provide funding for programs benefitting those with autism spectrum disorder. Click on link to website to complete and submit online application.

National Autism Association Helping Hand– The Helping Hand Program provides families with financial assistance in getting necessary medical treatments, lab testing, physician-recommended supplements and therapies for their child with autism. This program does not provide funding for iPads, camp tuition, respite care, fencing, trampolines, swingsets, trips to Disney World, etc.

Disclaimer: The Advocate’s Corner and Davis Advocates maintain referral listings as a service to our constituents. Efforts are made to ensure listings are of legitimate service providers and that listings are accurate. The Advocate’s Corner and Davis Advocates do not endorse or claim to have personal knowledge of the abilities of those listed. We urge users of this directory to use independent judgment and request references when considering the use of services from any professional.

Visit with the Advocate

Dickinson ISD Abilities Conference Exhibitor Table 2015
Samantha Davis at the Dickinson ISD Conference and Resource Fair

If you are attending any of the following conferences, I would love to meet you!

April 16th, 2016-  I will have a table at this event.

resource day-2
4th Annual Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities Conference

June 17th and 18th- 12th Annual TXP2P Conference in San Marcos

I will be presenting on Saturday on “How to Get the Most Out of Your Child’s ARD Meeting.”


What are My Dispute Resolution Options


If you are having issues with your child’s school you have several options.   Some of the options below may only apply to the state of Texas.  The dispute resolution options are not listed in a specific order nor do you have to follow them in a specific order.  Continue reading

ECI Working with Community Providers


This post was originally published in Texas Parent to Parent 2016 Spring Newsletter and is re-posted with permission. 

Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) provides services to families who have infants or toddlers with qualifying disabilities or developmental delays. Most ECI services are provided at home; however, services can be provided in other settings. An important outcome of ECI is that families receiving services feel they know how to support their children’s development both at home and in their communities. Community settings can include day care, early education programs, library  activities or simply playing in the neighborhood park or playground.

ECI services are intended to support the child and family, along with community providers, so the child can fully participate in the community experience. What this looks will be different for every child because every child has different needs. The plan to participate should be addressed on a regular basis and individualized to meet the needs of the child and the expectations of the family. It is important to consider community activities when planning for your child.  Learning new skills in other settings help children:

  •  learn skills that are useful for everyday life,
  •  interact with other children, who model the desired skills,
  •  practice new skills,
  •  experience a sense of belonging,
  •  develop social skills,
  •  be motivated to try new things,
  •  gain confidence in their abilities.

Parents may ask that some of their ECI services be provided in their child’s day care class. ECI services in this setting are focused on coordinating learning activities with the teacher to ensure the ECI child is fully participating in class activities.  This may mean adapting the activity, changing the physical environment to meet the needs of the child, or  supporting peer relationships in the classroom.

ECI may also work with the day care provider to understand how to structure tasks in smaller developmental steps to reveal the child’s skill level.  This allows parents and teachers to set realistic expectations for the child. As a result, they are better able to recognize and applaud the child’s accomplishments. The ECI provider’s role is not to replace communication between the family and the child care provider, but to offer strategies that support the child’s development both at home and in the child care setting.

Some families may want their child to participate in other community activities such as story time at the library, a  parent/child class, or nursery/child care activities at their church. In some cases, families may not be sure what is available to them in their communities.  ECI and the family can work together to explore options and identify what will meet their needs.

What can you do to help the ECI provider find ways for your child to participate in the community?

  1. Identify what experiences you think will benefit your child. If you are not sure, be open to exploring.
  2. Identify activities the ECI child likes.  This list will help the ECI provider know what might be a natural fit.
  3. Identify the child’s strengths. An activity that focuses on your child’s strengths will be more successful.
  4. Think about some of the challenges that may come up.  What ideas do you have about minimizing the challenges to your child’s participation?
  5. Be honest about your worries.
  6. Be confident in your ability to know your child and to share that information with others.

What should you be prepared to share with the community provider?

  1. Your goals and expectations for your child.
  2. Your knowledge and expertise about your child.
  3. Strategies that work best for your child.
  4. How best to communicate with you.
  5. In a child care class, a copy of the Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP).  Enlist child care providers in supporting your child’s goals.
  6. Issues that you observe and ideas about what would be an improvement.
  7. Your child’s specific needs. What is it you expect from this experience?

To find a local ECI program in your area, call the DARS Inquiries Line at 1-800-628-5115 or search for a program at www.dars.state.tx.us/ecis/searchprogram.asp.