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Making Up Missed Services

by Wrightslaw

My child has reading, speech and OT in her IEP.  How many times a month are the therapist’s “allowed” to miss a session?

There is nothing in IDEA or the federal regulations about “missing services.”

Here is a statement from a Related Services Fact Sheet from Families and Advocates Partnership for Education (FAPE) funded by OSEP.

“Your school district must provide the related services according to your child’s IEP. This is true even during times of personnel shortages or extended absences. To do this, the school system can contract with qualified providers outside the school system through another public or private agency.”

From the Pacer Center: “The school district must provide the related services in the child’s IEP. The district may contract with providers outside the school district if there are personnel shortages in the school.”

When the school system contracts with providers outside the system, it must be at no cost to the parents.

Your state Department of Education may have a specific policy regarding procedures for missed related services – that addresses provider absence or when a provider is engaged in other activities.

An example. The BCPS plan for making up missed sessions when:

  • There is a provider vacancy or long term leave
  • The provider misses a session
  • The student misses a session due to school-based assessment and field trips

Another example. Ohio’s “Procedures for Missed Related Services”  when the related service provider is absent or engaging in some alternative activity.

Check your state Department of Education website for policies or to find a contact and number you can call to ask questions.

Denial of FAPE

Missed sessions or interrupted services could constitute a denial a FAPE.

Refer to the OSEP letter, March 8, 2007,  about scheduling make-up sessions for related services like speech therapy.

“Schools must consider the impact of a provider’s absence or a child’s absence on the child’s progress and performance and determine how to ensure the continued provision of FAPE in order for the child to continue to progress and meet the annual goals in his or her IEP. Whether an interruption in services constitutes a denial of FAPE is an individual determination that must he made on a case-by-case basis.”

Filing a State Complaint

If you have evidence that supports your claim that the school did not provide the O.T. and P.T. services in your child’s IEP, you can file a complaint with your state department of education (SEA). Your SEA is responsible for supervising special education programs operated by school districts, and for ensuring FAPE. Your state must have a system to provide parents with information about complaint procedures and to resolve complaints.

Your claim will need supporting documentation.  Have you kept a record of missed sessions and the reason? Did you notify the school when sessions were missed to request when and how sessions would be made up?

TIP –  from Wrightslaw: All About IEPs

Most school holidays fall on Monday or Friday.  To  avoid missing therapy days on these holidays, try to select T- W- TH for your child’s therapy.

If not, state in the IEP that the missed therapy sessions will be made up before end of school year or through ESY.

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11 Comments on "Making Up Missed Services"

lisa h

Can anyone share any link or sample letters requesting make services on missed ot sessions. My sons 504 plan was approved on 2/15. He just had his first OT session last week 4/24/2015. Does the district owe me Ot sessions?


I am wondering if a Principal in Texas complains to a CASA Advocate only minutes before a Contested ARD Meeting that was needed because Teacher’s were not following a Child’s IEP. The same day CPS removes the Child with Asperger’s and severe Transition problems then places him in long term Foster Care where he loses the total benefits of his IEP. Now the grandmother has fought for a year with CPS accusations of deteriorating in her Care. Finally the grandmother has proven that CPS and the Judge who ordered this did not have the Venue to go County to County removal. When my Grandson gets home hopefully by Christmas – Should the Principal and the School be liable for a Year of losing his IEP that had been great until he entered 4th Grade and (1)Teacher did not follow IEP and he started shutting down in Class? This last year = Fape? NO!


My sons school has changed OT agencies at least three time over the past year. The new OT person whom I met a week ago was set up in a classroom but has no equipment. Does the agency with whom the OT works for have equipment or should the school district provide it? I’m sure there is lost time in the OT person trying to find equipment to use or as she said to me borrow from colleagues. My son has fine motor issue, balance issue, weak core…etc. Last year I won a case in mediation for his fine motor but all that was provided was a keyboard and some weighted pencils. He was authorized OT outside of school which the school was paying for, but we ran into a situation with the agency and I never took him back. I contacted our Special Ed director about this but never til this day have I heard back.


School closing due to Election Day can affect speech therapy that is given normally on Tuesdays. The school was closed. Also school and classroom made up of kids not a good fit for my son. What does the law say about switching schools in the county? I’m in GA.


The school refuses to put any measurable goals in an IEP for my 14 year old grand daughter who has Dyslexia and Dyscalculia. The only OT they gave her was to pull out of a main stream class and tell her to try and type 35wpm even though .she told them she could already do this. This is the tip of the iceberg as to the lack of accommodations. They have pushed her into 9th grade and she can not do the math, spell, write to take notes, et. I know there is so much she is missing out on and will miss out on in life because she will not be equipped to move forward if we can not find answers. We are signed up for a class in Grand Rapids Mi. In October, 2014. Perhaps we will find answer so we can make the school remediate before she gives up. She has endured more than I could have as a kid. She is my HERO!