Special Education/Speech therapy


My son's IEP states a specific number of minutes received quarterly for speech services. This year, I'm going to be pulling my son out of school early three days per week for ABA therapy. Does the school still need to provide the same number of minutes for speech therapy? My understanding is that legally they need to, but I was reviewing my son's IEP, and it says that sessions missed because of student absence, district testing, extracurricular activities, etc.... do not need to be made up.

Dear Michele,

Thank you so much for writing to me! I am very sorry for my delay. I forgot to put on my 'vacation setting' here on allexperts.com. I hope my answer will help you!

It can be problematic for a parent to remove a child from part of the school week to obtain therapies, although many of my clients/families encounter the desire to do this for different reasons. Usually, it is a scheduling issue or an issue where after school services are exhausting to the child.

In addition, if a child starts to not make sufficient progress in an area, such as speech language, the school says it is due to the parent pulling the child from school. Some schools even go as far as to report the parent for lack of compulsory attendance. It can get messy.

I would assume you have asked the school to change times for the SLP therapy. If not, that is the first step. Then I would explore if the ABA therapist can change times, come to the school to do the therapy, or arrange other schedules. In absence of all that, if everyone is rigid about the schedule and situation, I would very much explore whether this program is the right one. If you have to supplement during the school day, perhaps your child needs a placement that can do all the services needed for him to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

I am sorry to say that I don't think the district would agree to make up missed sessions due to your pulling him from school.

I am sorry I don't have better ideas. While I do understand why parents want to pull a child from school for therapies, it can present a bit of an issue with holding the school district fully responsible for a FAPE.

Thank you for using this service and for your great question! I wish you the best as you advocate for your exceptional child's education!

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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