What are “related services”?

The term “related services” refers to the services that your child requires in order to benefit from special education instruction.  For any individual child, these services could include, but are not limited to: transportation, interpreting services, autism consults, speech pathology, audiology, psychological services, physical therapy, occupational therapy, recreation, social work services, medical services for diagnostic and evaluative purposes, rehabilitation counseling, parent counseling and training, school health services, school nursing services, counseling, assistive technology services or devices, and orientation and mobility services.

Related services are documented in the IEP at “Section V. Services,” and the IEP should specify exactly how much of each service your child is to receive and how often.

Do I need to pay for related services?

No, if your child needs related services to benefit from special education instruction, those services must be provided at no cost to you. These services may be provided directly to your child or indirectly by a service provider working with your child’s teacher to implement his/her IEP.

What is an “autism consult”?

During an Autism Consult, a staff member from MCPS Autism Spectrum Disorder Services (a/k/a the Autism Unit) observes a child in his/her educational setting and writes recommendations for strategies and accommodations to help the student become successful in his/her current classroom.

How do I obtain an Autism Consult for my child?

An Autism Consult can be identified as a related service on a child’s IEP and initiated as needed. Additionally, a parent can ask the IEP Team to request a consult from the Autism Unit, even if this service is not on the child’s IEP. An Autism Consult can be requested whether or not the child has been coded 14 (Autism). The child’s IEP Team must initiate the official request for an Autism Consult. The IEP team must complete a request form and get it initialed by the Special Education Area Supervisor, who then forwards it to the Autism Unit.

What happens during the Autism Consult?

Typically, a phone consult is attempted first and if the issues can’t be addressed, an observation is scheduled. The purpose of an observation is to see what is and isn’t working for the child in the classroom. Recommendations are written by the consultant and submitted to the IEP Team. If necessary, a second observation can be scheduled to see whether the strategies are helping and whether the strategies need to be refined.

What results can I expect from an Autism Consult?

Examples of services that can result from an Autism Consult:

  • The consultant might teach staff strategies to help students be more successful.
  • The consultant might assist staff with conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) to collect and analyze data about the student’s behavioral triggers.
  • The consultant might assist staff with implementing a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP), based on the data from the FBA. A Behavior Intervention Plan consists of strategies to help a student with interfering behaviors. A BIP incorporates positive strategies that reinforce preferred behavior and that encourage a child to monitor his/her behavior (a behavior contract).
  • The consultant might attend the child’s IEP meeting.

What is HIAT?

HIAT refers to the MCPS High Incidence Assistive Technology Team, which is a collaborative team that can be brought into the classroom to provide training and consultation to a school team on how to use technology to meet the needs of their students.  A HIAT consult can be specified as a related service in the IEP.

What is InterACT?

InterACT refers to an Interdisciplinary Augmentative Communication and Technology Team, which is a team that’s staffed and supported through the MCPS Division of PreKindergarten, Special Programs and Related Services. The team consists of speech/language pathologists, occupational therapists, a physical therapist, special educators, and technical support assistants. InterACT collaborates with school teams to support MCPS students with severe communication disabilities, provides professional development opportunities, and supports the development of adapted materials to enable students to participate in the curriculum.

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