Occupational Therapy (OT): REDUCTION IN SERVICES, THERAPIST TAKES DISAGREEMENT PERSONALLY

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Joanie:  It truly appeared that the therapist & student assistant were taking my objection to a reduction in services personally. It was as if they were upset that I even questioned her services. 30 minutes a week down to 30 minutes a month is a lot when she is just beginning to improve. I am still looking into what options I have. A compromise was made to give my child 15 minutes a week of OT instead of bi weekly but it was barely a compromise if she is still not getting enough of a full session for it to be effective. What else can I do?

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Sophie

Has the school sent you the PWN yet? If not, you may want to let the school know that you would like to read the PWN as soon as possible. The school has to give, in the meeting and in the PWN, the reasons for the change, and the alternatives considered. Have you asked what the reason was for their proposed reduction? (In most states you can tape the meeting — notifying staff in advance — to enable you to review what was said.) Have you considered requesting an Independent Educational Evaluation for OT (funded by the district)? It can be helpful to invite the outside OT to participate in the meeting (if only by phone). What do the progress notes say about your child’s progress in the relevant IEP goal(s)?

Amy

OT isn’t a service that any student with an IEP automatically qualifies for. OT is a related service, meaning it’s included on a student’s plan only when it is necessary for the student to benefit from special ed. Federal rules require that link to be documented in order for the child to receive OT (or any other related service). It might be that your daughter’s IEP team determined that she no longer required as much OT in order to benefit from special ed. The team should be able to provide you with a clear explanation about their decision. If not, you will want to connect with your director of special ed. Be prepared to provide your input regarding how your daughter requires more OT to benefit from special ed.