How Do You Write a “Consult” in the IEP?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

related services provider with girlMy daughter will receive 10 hours a year of consultation from the Occupational Therapist (OT) this year. How should we write this in the IEP?

Often the IEP just says that OT will be provided through the consultative model. This is almost as vague as saying “as needed.”

Document the Details in the IEP

OT consultation as a related service, even for only 10 hours a year, should be documented in your child’s IEP as required by the U.S. Department of Education.

Use the U.S. DOE Model Form for required documentation of services on the IEP.

The IEP should include the frequency, duration, location, and projected dates for the service. 34 C.F.R. 300.320(a)(7)

Be specific. Don’t use ranges, use number of times per day/week/month/year, number of minutes/hrs, etc.

Be specific about who will provide the service. Make sure that the IEP specifies a registered OT and not an OT assistant (COTA). Do not use a broad term like “staff”.

See page 246 in your law book, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law or page 43 in Wrightslaw: All About IEPs for more info.

Check Your State Regulations

You should also check your state regulations and district policy for the written definition of and requirements for consultation or consultative services.

You will find your state regulations (and your state Special Education page) on the Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities.

States use the term “consult” in different ways. It is important you know how it is defined in your school, what it means, and how it will be provided.

Some states define “Consultant Teacher ” services that are identified in the IEP as a special education program or service.

In some cases, consulting is not provided to the student but to a teacher or other professional who works with the student or helps the student meet her IEP goals.

In this case, consultation is not a related service, provided directly to the student.

Consultation Services as a Support for School Personnel

The IEP team may discuss consultation as support or training for school personnel.  This is consultation that would help school staff work more effectively with your child to help her attain annual goals, to access and progress in the general curriculum, and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities.

For example, behavioral consultation with a school psychologist, social worker, or other behavioral consultant. Or, a classroom teacher who has a student with a visual impairment consults with a teacher of students with visual impairments about visual abilities of students, appropriate classroom materials, and strategies for working on scanning. This support should be written in the IEP.

When consultation as support and training is documented in the IEP, use it to monitor the service delivery.  You should receive reports about what consultation services took place, and when.  If not, ask for the records that show:

  • when consults took place
  • who received the consult
  • what was discussed during the consult
  • what was decided as a result of the consult
  • when is the next consult scheduled
  • what is scheduled for discussion

These records should match the specific information that is written in the IEP.

  1. I read above the answer regarding if a goal was necessary for consult services listed in the IEP. What if on the schedule of service page all required information is documented along with (in addition to) what consult services will consist of. For example:
    – consultation with the student
    – direct observation at least one per grading period
    – consultation with teacher and other staff members regarding field trip needs; follow up after a field trip

  2. Can consultation be provided for academic areas? For example, a student no longer requires services for math calculation because they are performing on grade level according to assessments and goals have been met, but their most recent triennial evaluation says they’re performing below average and should receive math services.
    Or should the team discuss removal of the goal entirely? If they do this, how would that work?

    • Lin. Yes. I have never seen anything that says otherwise. IDEA rules (300.320(a)(4) say the IEP should include “supports for school personnel”. Consultation between teachers is a type of “support”.

  3. What happens when consultation minutes have been satisfied, (e.g. student has 300 minutes and 300 minutes have already been provided before parent requested records)?

  4. Is there a way to put in the child’s IEP that occupational therapy services may only be delivered by an occupational therapist and not an assistant?

    • You can certainly request that the IEP team put that in the IEP, but it is likely they will not want to do this, especially if the OT is not present. You could proposal some sort of compromise, i.e. a certain # of sessions each semester by the OT, &/or OT observing the assistant periodically live or recorded.

      • Thank you. Currently my son has a COTA an which is a first for us. Nothing against COTA’s but with all the issues he has she seems to miss opportunities to help him and after numerous complaining we finally got the OT she works under to evaluate the situation. She ended up constantly correcting this person and picking up on new issues. Somehow we seem to still be assigned to this person after multiple meetings and bringing this up. I’m just trying to figure out how to help my son.

        • You can request an IEP meeting to request that the OT only or for a specific amount of time work with your child. Request that the OT be there. Document in writing your concerns about lack of progress,& your efforts to address this situation. Be sure to record or document the discussion. If they say no, they are to give you a prior written notice of refusal. From there you may need to use the state dispute resolution process. Your state parent training & information project or disability rights project can give you further support.  

  5. Do you need an IEP goal for OT if it is on a consultative basis? My student is only scheduled for 15 min 1x/month for consult, but there isn’t a goal for OT on the IEP. Is this normal?

    • Without a goal how does the teacher, OT, and you know the purpose of the consultation? You can request in writing to the special ed director that you be informed of the goal/objective of the consultation. You can also request a copy of the OT’s notes on their visits/consultations.

    • If the consultation is written under the heading “Supports for School Personnel”, you do not have to have a specific, measurable goal. You do, however, have to document what the consultation is for. For example, OT consultation that is 15 min 1x/month is typical for sensory processing. So in the present levels of the IEP, and the clarification box under Supports for School Personnel, it should be documented something like “Jane benefits from consultative Occupational Therapy services to develop and monitor a sensory diet for use in the classroom. Consultation may include staff training, equipment maintenance, modifying strategies in the classroom, and direct student training.”

  6. Hi Kim: You should ask * in writing * whenever you have a question about your child’s IEP. You may have questions about services the school is providing, frequency, time (minutes), how to make up missed services, where services are delivered, by whom, etc.

    Or you may be concerned about his progress – you need to share your concerns with the IEP team in a note or letter to the team. If he doesn’t seem to be making acceptable progress, consider requesting IEP meeting before the usual annual IEP. If you wait, he may lose valuable time.

    We recommend putting your questions and concerns in writing because many verbal requests for information are not answered (ignored) or are answered incorrectly because the school person doesn’t know what the law requires.

    If you have our book, “From Emotions to Advocacy,” you’ll find chapters about creating paper trails, letter writing and many sample letters.

    Good luck!

  7. When should you ask for the documentation that clarifies or moniters the consults? The IEP is using “quarterly” and this range is not appropriate. It has the same language for speech sessions. Should I ask for the documentation at the IEP meeting or before it? And should I wait for it (asking for it in person) before the IEP?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Please help us defeat spam. Thank you. *