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Unnecessary Services...What's a therapist to do?


I read the school-based PT Lounge Facebook group often looking for clues to assist me in my work with therapists as part of Sequoia. A common posted topic and one that solicits quite a bit of commenting is therapists receiving IEPs with services on them that professionally they do not feel as though are necessary. I understand that – but how do you go about getting the team to understand that? Often the administrators at the table want you not to make any changes as they do not want “deal” with any potential fallout from a family or caregiver. Depending on your district, you may have 30 days in which to update the IEP- it is “in place” until then as written by the previous team.

So let me share some thoughts on how to manage this situation.


First: Be aware of the concerns by going through the process. Use the 30 days of mandated services to begin your ecological assessment. Interview stakeholders beginning with the parents. That can provide information on where to begin your observation of student activities and routines, and meeting current environment expectations. That will also provide you the basis in which to augment your data gathering with another outcome measure or tool as needed.


Second: Be prepared by having data to match concerns and will allow you to update the student’s present level of performance; think student strengths and needs relative to participation. Remember the present level is the baseline in which progress and educational benefit will be measured. Be able to articulate your roles and responsibilities as a related service provider.


Third: Manage any negative emotions and seek to understand the team’s position including the parent. Be an active listener and reflect back in order to ensure understanding of all team concerns. Do not presume you know what the team will say as you approach the topic of student needs and how you might recommend, they are met.


Fourth: Be able to negotiate. Carefully consider services to and on behalf in order and be open to discussing a variety of ways to address the student and classroom/learning environment needs. Have several scenarios in your mind – thing episode of care.


Fifth: Come to a solution. Be open to addressing the student with a service model, not your first choice but allows a way to maintain team dynamics and build parent/caregiver trust. Suggest a period of data collection and then a team meeting to review and revise the IEP if able. (If you consider an episode of care that supports this approach).


Take some time to explore what tools Sequoia has to support your work!

New ones to come!


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