Dismissal From Services

AOTA School Systems SIS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Who decides when occupational therapy services are needed or when they are no longer needed?
A: DEA identifies the IEP team (which includes the parents) as having the
responsibility for determining when occupational therapy services are or are
not needed. Decisions about the need for occupational therapy should be
based on the results of the student’s initial evaluation or re-evaluation, the
student’s academic, developmental and/or functional needs, and the desired
goals or outcomes to be achieved, as identified by the team. Factors that
should not be considered in the decision-making process include the specific
disability category or condition, staff availability, administrative convenience, or
availability of reimbursement.

From Northside ISD's OT & PT Operating Guidelines rev 2006

Related services enable a student to make progress toward mastering IEP goal(s) and/or to access and participate in school programs. Through informal – and if needed, formal – evaluation, the student’s progress is assessed. At least annually the student’s program is reviewed by the therapist(s), and a recommendation about the need for continued services is made to the ARD committee. There are several factors the IEP reams should consider when making decisions regarding occupational or physical therapy service completion (dismissal/exit ):

  • The student is functional within the present educational environment and therapy services are no longer indicated.

  • The student’s needs will be better served by an alternative program and/or service, as determined by the IEP team.

  • Other educational personnel are able to assist the student safely in areas of concern previously addressed by the therapist.

  • The classroom staff has been adequately trained to provide the support needed to enable the student to master IEP goals without the support of therapy services.

  • The student has mastered the IEP goal supported by the therapy services.

  • Student performance remains unchanged despite continued efforts by the therapist to remediate the concern or to assist the student in developing compensatory skills.

  • Therapy services are contraindicated because of change in medical or physical status.

  • He/she graduates from high school.

  • He/she reaches the age of 22 years.

ECPTOTE Response to Interesting Question About Dismissal- (Feb 12, 2014)
Q: "I am seeking some guidance on dismissing students from OT services. We have a district that is serving a large number of students through a contract company that appears to be using more of a medical model. The admin is attempting to look at IEPs with closer scrutiny to see how many of the students actually have educational need for services. The big question at this time is dismissal criteria. They want to know if they can dismiss via REED. We tend to be conservative on that here and recommend eval in most cases. Could you share some good guidelines on dismissal from any of your districts? Instruments? The director is asking if there is “brief” eval that would suffice as this could be very costly for the district. "

1.TBOTE Rules do not require reevaluation for dismissal (see the Provision of Services Chapter, the section at the end on Dismissal).

2.I know of no place in IDEA law/regs, Texas Ed Code/Rules, or TEA that stipulates dismissal from a related service requires a reevaluation. All I am aware of is that a decision by the ARD/IEP committee to dismiss must be based on current data (data from the child’s service provider as well as any other available and relevant data before the committee), but that the data doesn’t have to be a formal reevaluation. Acceptable data could be graphic representations of performance showing progress, work samples, etc. – it must be more than just the provider’s opinion.

Having said this, it's often advised that reevaluation for related services prior to dismissal because there is not enough current data (from related services and instruction, if relevant) to present at the ARD meeting. In other words, if the district is on top of things and there is good data submitted to the ARD committee so that the decision to dismiss has a solid foundation, a attorney would be comfortable with no reevaluation. Attorneys for districts apparently see otherwise at times, however, and in those cases recommends to the district that they go ahead and reevaluate.