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Must Services in the IEP be Provided by a Special Ed Teacher?

by Wrightslaw

Can the school write in the IEP that the child will receive reading instruction/tutoring by a reading specialist who is not a special ed teacher?

Yes. The IDEA and federal special ed regs do not require that the services listed in the IEP must be provided by a special ed teacher. (Vote in the poll at the end of this article)

Here’s the background to the question:

My 10 year old with Downs Syndrome has made no reading progress over the last 4-5 years. A reading specialist recommended a new reading program, the school agreed. To help him catch up, we also asked for additional intensive services by this reading specialist, who would know how to implement and monitor the new program.

The school told us ” he cannot have it written in the IEP for services of the reading specialist since the specialist is not a special ed teacher.”

Must the school exclude a service from the IEP, if the child will be taught/tutored by a reading specialist who is not a special ed teacher? Is that true?

No. This is not true. The IDEA and federal special ed regs do not require that the services listed in the IEP must be provided by a special ed teacher.

Most children with disabilities receive much or all of their education in regular ed classes, and are taught by regular ed teachers. The IDEA requires that the child’s IEP team include at least one regular ed teacher because . . .

The regular ed teacher knows the curriculum and what students are supposed to learn and do. With input from the regular ed teacher, the team can determine what accommodations, supplementary aids and services, and modifications the child needs to learn and make progress. (Wrightslaw: All about IEPs, page 11)

The IEP must include all special education services, related services, and supplementary aids and services the child needs, and the school will provide. (Wrightslaw: All About IEPs, page 37)

If team proposes a service but resists writing it into the IEP, you might assume they don’t really plan to provide it.

If the parent has to request mediation or a due process hearing because the promised service was not provided, the parent will not prevail because the IEP does not include it.

Politely ask for a clarification and copy of the written policy (either federal, state, or local school district) that indicates a special ed teacher is required to provide services in the IEP. If you do not get a response, write a follow-up letter with a request for the policy.

Please vote in the poll.

My Child's IEP Includes:

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34 Comments on "Must Services in the IEP be Provided by a Special Ed Teacher?"


Can you tell me where I can find the IDEA and Federal Special Ed Regulations that confirm this? I am not understanding what the legal regulation says and can not find any help on the IDEA website.


I´m a special education teacher. In the programs and services section of the IEP I would not add reading specialist or add goals specifically for the reading specialist. I would add the reading specialist time into the supplementary supports section of the IEP. It certainly can be written in though…….


If a special education teacher does not know the curriculum than they should not be teaching.


I am a teacher and have a student whom is thought to be in need of special education services. The district does not have a psychologist who speaks the child’s native language and therefore the only types of assessments being used are behavioral scales. Is the district held accountable for finding someone who speaks the child’s native language to assess cognitive and achievement abilities and to determine if their is a discrepancy warranting a learning disabilities. The language is Turkish. If the district is not responsible can the parent request that the district pay for an outside evaluations? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.


After one year of a failed IEP,getting an official diagnosis and becoming trained in Dyslexia. I currently enrolled my Dyslexic 9 year old in the school districts home school program. We recently had an IEP meeting in which I thought were going to adjust the IEP to the homeschool setting, however it was overruled by the IEP team and the other parent that she be back in public school. Is it true that only one parent has to decide? Is it true that the IEP has to follow the student every where she goes? Any help would be appreciated in answering these questions.