This is another post in our current series introducing readers to special education law's key concepts. Today's post is about related services. This phrase is almost always preceded by "special education and..."
Let me know if you are enjoying this series. For some it is an introduction. For others it is a chance to brush up on the key concepts...
The IDEA defines related services as follows:
(A) IN GENERAL- The term ‘related services’ means transportation, and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services (including speech-language pathology and audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, social work services, school nurse services designed to enable a child with a disability to receive a free and appropriate public education as described in the individualized education program of the child, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services, except that such medical services shall be for diagnostic and evaluation purposes only) as may be required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education…
(B) EXCEPTION—The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.
IDEA, § 602(26). See, 34 C.F.R. § 300.34.
The issue of related services has resulted in two decisions by the United States Supreme Court. The first decision was Irving Independent Sch. Dist. v. Tatro 468 U.S. 883, 104 S.Ct. 3371, 555 IDELR 511 (1984). The Court affirmed the Court of Appeals holding that a procedure known as clean intermittent catheterization was a related service because the student could not attend school without it and, therefore, without the procedure she could not benefit from special education. Tatro, supra. The Supreme Court also affirmed the holding of the Court of Appeals that clean intermittent catheterization is not exempted by the medical services provision because the procedure did not have to be performed by a doctor, it could be done by a layperson with an hour of training. Tatro, supra.
The second decision was Cedar Rapids Community Sch. Dist. v. Garret F. 526 U.S. 66, 119 S.Ct. 992, 29 IDELR 966 (1999). In this case, the Supreme Court held that urinary bladder catheterization and suctioning of tracheotomy plus various monitoring was a related service. Garret F., supra. Applying the “bright line” test of the Tatro decision, the Court held that because the related services did not have to be performed by a physician, the medical services exclusion did not apply and the schools were required to provide the services for the student. Garret F., supra. The Court specifically and emphatically rejected the argument raised by the schools that the cost of providing the services was a defense. Garret F., supra.
In Marshall Joint Sch Dist No.2 v CD by Brian & Traci D 616 F. 3d 632, 54 IDELR 307 (7th Cir 8/2/10), the Seventh Circuit concluded that the student did not need specialized instruction. Any need for PT or OT, therefore, was not relevant.
In Doe ex rel Doe v East Lyme Bd of Educ 790 F.3d 440, 65 IDELR 255 (Second Cir 6/26/15) Parent argued that SD violated stay put by failing to provide the related services of speech therapy and OT. District court agreed but limited relief only to money that the parent had already paid out for the related services to avoid awarding money damages which are not available under IDEA. Second Circuit reversed holding that the parent was entitled to the full value of the related services provided for in the IEP not as money damages, but rather as a form of compensatory education. (Full value of services not yet paid for by the parent.)