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Giving Up? Discontinuing Services Due to “No Improvement!”?

by Wrightslaw

My twin sons have autism. We have an IEP meeting tomorrow.  The boys’ Occupational Therapist/Physical therapist just called me and said that he was going to suggest to discontinue OT/PT services for the boys due to ‘no improvement’ for the past 2 years.

My boy’s therapy shouldn’t be canceled because they haven’t made improvement on goals!  They should not be allowed to ‘give up’ on them like this. And, why do they spring this on me 24 hours before the meeting?

If this issue does come up at the meeting and the school proposes to discontinue these services, you need to state that you object to this plan. State that you do not consent to the termination of these services.

The fact that your children have not made progress under the present program is evidence that they need more intensive services, not a discontinuation of services.

If the IEP team terminates services over your objections, you need to write a polite note to the school. You should:

  • describe your children’s disabilities
  • explain that this came as a complete surprise
  • explain that you learned about the plan to discontinue services a short time (24 hours) ahead of the IEP meeting
  • state that you do not agree or consent to this plan.

Procedural Safeguards

There are procedural safeguards for parents under these circumstances, but it’s too late for you to become an expert on this one day before the meeting. You need to do your homework now, then request another IEP meeting.

1. Learn about your son’s disability and your parental rights and responsibilities.

2. Get an OT and/or PT evaluation by an independent expert in the private sector – this expert should test your children and describe the services they need. Ask the evaluator to attend the next IEP meeting with you.

3. Request another meeting.

AFTER you have the evaluation and information in hand, and the evaluator has agreed to go to a meeting to educate the educators, you can request another IEP meeting.

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12 Comments on "Giving Up? Discontinuing Services Due to “No Improvement!”?"


Why isn’t the rest of your boys’ team working on these goals as well? The therapists should not be the only people addressing these goals.
There are separate providers for OT and PT right?

The guidelines for my state say that if no progress is made we can recommend discontinuing service. That however is a team discussion, not the sole discretion for the therapist. Services should be reconfigured, and maybe the goals are not appropriate. Maybe their whole program needs to be looked at, the occupational and physical therapy are there to allow them to benefit from their program. I am guessing that its not just the related service goals that aren’t being met.


my child has ADHD and also seems to get into trouble. the school has put my child under the microscope for minor behavior issues — they have blown it out of proportion. unfortunately, my child responded to a situation with the other child and is now suspended. he’s been placed on home instruction till placed (he’s been out since 9/22). the school if it sees a pattern of aggressiveness will try to kick him out by placing him out of district. it seems like parents have no rights and their children have no rights. I’ve written a letter and disagreed with the IEP. i’ve asked for independent evals, and an FBA. other than asking for mediation, due process and writing a complaint, good luck. it feels like the decision has already been made without our consent to place him OOD. i hope that you don’t have to go thru this.

Sharon L.

Angelique Have you considered requesting a behavior assessment from the school? YOu can do this in writing. We did and discovered that there were “triggers” that cause behavior issues with my youngest son. Once the assessment came back and we all go together it became more clear how to deal with him in the classroom. We also added the behavior plan to the IEP. This way the recommendations could be used no matter where my son was placed and would go from year to year. This may help.



My son is in the SpEd program at the local public school. He hates being in a his resource room for classes and has problems with a kid in every one of his classes I talk to the teachers and they just say well (my son) aggravates the other child as much as he aggravates my son. I feel this is hindering my son’s education as well as the other boys and they are both staying in trouble my son more so. I do not know what to do any more. any advise anyone please


Thank you Susan for listing the code. You prove my statement. If the special education service is for gen ed it is not a related service. If the sped service is for special ed it is a related service. This is often confused.

For example, for a child to get to their special ed service they need to be driven – transportation would be a related service.

If speech was arctic only they would not be a related service. Understanding this will help you see that often pts ot and slps are not related services.