Can the School Exclude Related Service Providers from IEP Meetings?

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Related service providers should be included on the child’s team when a particular related service will be discussed.

These providers have valuable input about the child’s needs, services required, and an appropriate educational program.

If the child’s evaluation indicates the child needs a specific related service, the school should ensure that a qualified provider of that service either –

  • attends the IEP meeting
  • provides a written recommendation concerning the nature, frequency, and amount of service to provided to the child.

In fact, in some cases the related service provider may be a required member of the IEP team as the person “responsible” for implementing the child’s IEP.

Under 34 CFR 300.321 (a)(3), the chld’s special education teacher or provider is a required member of the IEP team.

If a child with a speech impairment (his only disability) receives only speech language services defined as special education under state standards, the SLP would be the required team member.

OSEP Frowns on Excluding Related Service Providers

The US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, OSERS Letter to Rangel-Diaz states:

if a child with a disability has an identified need for related services, it would be appropriate for the related services personnel to attend the meeting. 

Refer to 34 CFR 300.321(a)(3) and (6) that govern how related services personnel can attend IEP meetings. (Page 246, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition.)

If the school designates the related services provider as a required team member, it must ensure that provider attends the IEP meeting, unless the parent consents to excuse the provider. See the excusal provisions in 34 CFR 300.321(e)

OSEP expects excusal decisions to be made on an individualized, case-by-case basis, and would consider a public agency to be in noncompliance with the IDEA if it were to routinely or unilaterally excuse a required IEP Team member from attending an IEP Team meeting without obtaining parental consent or agreement… Letter to Rangel-Diaz (page 2)

“OSEP believes that it is critically important to the provision of FAPE that the public agency require individuals to attend IEP Team meetings who are in the best position to address the educational program for, and the unique needs of, each child with a disability.”

“OSEP expects that each public agency will ensure that each child’s IEP Team is composed of persons knowledgeable about the child and the child’s full range of educational needs, including the amount and type of special education and related services that the child needs in order to receive FAPE.”

  1. Can you ask that the special ed supervisor not attend the iep meeting? For some reason there was 2 of them in my meeting and they were trying to intimidate and attacking the advocate I am paying? The sped super terminated my meeting and refused to leave the meeting and told me I have to request a facilitated meeting and that she is still going to attend. It is clear that both sped supervisors have some kind of issue with my advocate. They have been delaying and denying for over a year. My rights as well as my sons rights have been violated. Can the district really condone this kind of behavior? Is it really legal to tell parents misleading information that will most likely deter them?

  2. I am an occupational therapist working in a school district. My district regularly fails to notify me about IEPs, leaving me out of the IEP process more often than not. I have raised this concern to my director of special education, but nothing has been done. I have an abnormally large caseload as well, covering 7 school sites, and IEPs are often doubly or triply booked, further preventing me from being able to complete my job responsibilities. Parent permission is never obtained prior to my exclusion from IEPs. I’m unsure what I should do – any advice?

    • The director is the one who ultimately must deal with this if it is to be improved. You have to decide how hard you want to push, possibly hurt your relationship with staff, & the director. You could suggest that you be given a list of upcoming IEP meetings. Someone must know when all or most of them are coming up. You could suggest that with this you could at least provide a written report if you could not attend. The team needs to know your recommendation on whether OT services need to continue, direct, & indirect services & progress made.

  3. I am a related services provider who has been purposely excluded from IEP meetings in which my service (music therapy) was dismissed, with no progress report or documentation of any kind from me. Do the parents have a right to know this? Do I have a right to let them know? I have only received verbal notification, when a diagnostician happened to be walking into the school at the same time as I was and from a teacher who thought I should know.

    • You are in a difficult position. Letting the parent know is not a good first action to take in my opinion. I suggest writing to the special ed director letting them know that you are not being informed of IEP meetings, so that you can attend, or submit a written report & recommendations. Dismissing a student without considering your input suggests that the decision is being made for administrative reasons.

    • As a parent I would automatically question the missing related service provider and require their presence if that was what was best for my kid. But if I didn’t know any better I would hope the person would inform me of the situation. In general though parents have the right to bring whoever they want to an IEP meeting, the school can not remove members, the parent has to agree in writing on dismissing a member of the IEP team from the IEP meeting.

  4. Note: In the case mentioned above, when a Child has Speech as a Primary Disability, The Speech Pathologist is not a Related Service Provider, but, a Primary Service Provider. Speech Pathologists are often the only related Service Provider which can stand alone according to School District Policies, as Primary Service Providers.
    For example, I have been to an Occupational Therapist following hand surgery and that service stood alone as my Primary Therapy. However, most school Districts only provide this service to children with other identified Primary Handicaps.

  5. Yeah, but what if they say yes to you(the parent) about bringing a previous teacher of your child’s, but then they contact the teachers new district they work in and have them threaten her not to show up, or shell lose her job.( This teacher is not tentered yet.)

  6. My child is dyslexic and I would like her to have OG Multisensory instruction – that has evidenced based success, her school is saying they are meeting her needs with AIS teachers that attended a 5 day training. I have completed the 45hr lecture and 100hr practicum by the Children’s Dyslexia Centers, and know that what they are providing is not sufficient. The parents in the school want an outside, qualified provider to be allowed to consult/ work with the school to provide the necessary services – do the parents have legal grounds to request the appropriate level of qualifications for the instructor ? i.e.- you wouldn’t ask someone to perform surgery because they listened to someone talk about it for 30hrs! – or maybe they slept in a Holiday Inn Express!! Is there case law for this?

    • Hi Kimberly, I am going through the same with my son. I feel our outside service provider has been more effective and more qualified to meet his needs than what the district provides. Has anyone answered your question outside this page? I need help in this department as well. Thank you!

  7. Schools seem to overlook what the “I” in IEP stands for.

    As an equal member of the IEP team, you may invite people to the table that you feel will help develop a plan that addresses any deficits in your child’s educational plan.

    • I always invite our BCBA and school does not provide ABA services. But this is a proven service that helps children in out case out son who has autism yet school does not allow our therapist to go in and help our students in the school setting. A setting in which our son amd many other children have issues and one that can not be replicated at home or in a center. Does the law state outside providers are not allowed in school to help with one particular child who has an IEP and the service is not available via school?

      It feels like you can never win with school!

      • I think if the BCBA has adequate insurance and is approved by the BOE, there shouldn’t be a problem. What is the school’s objection? Are they worried they have to pay? How does your school get away without offering this service?

        • I have recently signed IEPS for Speech goals gave it to my chairperson to find out the location of service has been changed from a therapy room to a push in setting that was not my recommendation it was changed without me knowing

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