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How to get ABA services in your IEP
If the student’s IEP is in the process of being developed or updated, you may wonder what related services can be included in the IEP.
What are these related services?
In the California Department of Education (CDE), related services are transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services that can assist a student with a disability to benefit them in their education. These services include, but are not limited to, the following:
- 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
- Medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes
- School health services and school nurse services
- Social work services in schools
- Parent counseling and training
For any related services, the IEP team must decide what services are necessary to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to each student with a disability. In this blog post, the focus will be on how to include ABA services in the student’s IEP.
If you wish to advocate for ABA services to be included in the student’s IEP, you must present evidence to the IEP team that having ABA services is essential and will benefit the student’s educational progress. To prepare for the IEP meeting, having the appropriate evidence prepared can help support your claim:
- Recommendations from teachers, therapists, and related service providers indicate that ABA is needed for the student to continue to make progress. Having personnel who have worked with the student also participate in the IEP meeting can help provide input on why ABA services can assist the student. For example, at our agency ABA Works, our clinicians will join your IEP, and share about the student’s progress, and what they see works effectively with the student, and whatnot. Our clinicians can be a great support in this process.
- Evaluative reports and materials that present a clear agreement that ABA services are necessary for the student’s educational progress. Our agency ABA Works can provide reports and data that can offer insight into how the ABA treatment has a positive effect on the student’s overall (academic) functioning;
- Documentation that other educational methodologies have been tried but were unsuccessful; and
- Documentation of regression during a period in which the student did not have access to ABA services or supports.
If the student currently has ABA services outside of school hours, you can also advocate having these services included in the IEP. These services are sometimes covered by insurance or the Regional Center. However, it is important to check if the ABA service has approval from insurance to conduct services in both the home and school.
After careful consideration of the evidence presented, the IEP team must decide if ABA services will be beneficial for the student’s educational progress. If the IEP team approves, the ABA services can be included in the IEP. If the IEP team does not approve, the family has the right by law to file a request for a due process hearing to resolve the disagreement.
In California, the Office of Administrative Hearing (OAH) provides due process services. When filing a request, parents have the option to request:
However, before filing a request it is important for parents to understand:
If a parent is seeking legal assistance, OAH has a resource list of Special Education advocates and attorneys throughout the Southern California area who can provide their services for free or at a low cost. Parents also have the option to represent themselves and their children for the hearing.
OAH advises that it must be kept in mind that when your case is presented before a judge, the judge will not know the details of your child’s case until the evidence is presented. During the hearing, you are telling the judge your side of the story and showing any documents that prove what you are saying is the truth. The judge will listen to the evidence and read the documents from both sides. It is through the documents that are admitted evidence by the court that the judge will consider and determine their decision.
After the hearing, if the parent does not agree with the final decision of the case the parent has the right to appeal. The appeal can be filed to the state superior court or the federal district court. This appeal must be filed within 90 days of the date the parents received the decision.
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