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Special Education Services, Activities and Supports


Types of Special Education Services, Activities and Supports

Special education services, activities and supports provided to students with IEPs in order for individual:

  • To advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals;
  • To be involved and progress in the general curriculum;
  • To be educated and participate with other individuals with disabilities and nondisabled students;
  • To participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; and
  • By age 14, pursue the course of study and post-high school outcomes (living, learning and working)

These services, activities and supports include:

  • Accommodations
  • Assistive Technology
  • Community Experiences
  • Development of work and other post-high school living objectives
  • Linkages/interagency responsibilities
  • Program modifications
  • Specially designed instruction
  • Supplementary aids and services
  • Supports for School Personnel
  • Support or related services
  • Specialized Accessible Formats


Actions designed to meet the unique needs of a student or are required to assist the student to take advantage of, or respond to educational programs and opportunities.

Examples – specially designed instruction, speech language pathology, specialized transportation, extended year school services, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, health services


Events or tasks that the student needs to complete or are provided in order to take advantage of, or respond to, educational programs and opportunities. The identification of activities is particularly relevant to the provision of transition services.

Examples – Work experiences, field trips, community experiences, applying for colleges or vocational rehabilitation services


Things or persons provided for student, or professional development provided for school personnel, which allow the student to have access to the general curriculum.

Examples – assistive technology devices, consultation among teachers, inservice opportunities or professional literature provided for school personnel, paraprofessionals provided for the students


Accommodations are supports or services provided to help a student access the general curriculum and demonstrate learning. Accommodations do not change the playing field.

Iowa Accommodations Guidelines

Assistive Technology

Assistive technology enables students with disabilities to participate more fully in all aspects of life, including home, school, and community, and helps them access a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).

Assistive Technology and NIMAS

Community Experiences

Educationally supported activities in the community necessary for the child to have a free appropriate public education (FAPE.)

Examples include:
Community based activities providing instruction in the use of community resources (stores, post office, recreational facilities, public transportation.)

Development of work and other post-high school living objectives

Work and other post-high school living objectives are developed to provide the student with the skills necessary to do such things as:

  • seek, get and maintain a job
  • successfully accomplish important adult activities such as registering to vote, doing taxes or renting a home.
  • set up and maintain a household

Linkages/Interagency Responsibilities

A statement of interagency responsibility or linkages required for a student to receive FAPE during transition to post-secondary life.

These include:

  • Activities that secure commitments from work experience sites;
  • Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services responsibilities
  • Application processes for post-high school living, working, education training.

Program Modifications

Changes made to the context and performance standards for students with disabilities. It changes the playing field for a student.

Examples include:

  • Modifications in performance expectations in general education classes
  • Modified requirements for earning credits

Specially Designed Instruction

Specially designed instruction is adapting the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction as appropriate to the needs of the child. This instruction should:

  1. address the unique needs of the child that result from the disability; and
  2. ensure access to the Iowa Core, so that the child can meet the educational standards that apply to all children.

Supplementary Aids and Services

Supplementary aids and services are aids, services, and supports that enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.

These aids, services and supports can be provided in:

  • general education environments,
    • Classroom, Music Room, School Gym
  • education–related settings,
    • Work Experience Sites,
  • extracurricular settings, and
    • Athletics, Clubs, School Plays
  • nonacademic settings.
    • School Dances, School sponsored activities
Examples of supplementary aids and services include:
  • Educational Interpreters
  • Appropriate adult supervision as determined by Student's IEP Team
  • School nurse services

Supports for School Personnel

Supports or services that provide school personnel with the necessary skills and assistance needed to support the implementation of a child’s IEP.

Examples include:

  • Professional development
  • Consultation with support service personnel such as Occupational or Physical Therapist
  • Professional literature

Support Services

A support service may be provided by one of the following persons:

  • A specially trained and appropriately certified individual
  • An assistant supervised by a specially trained and appropriately certified individual; or
  • A student’s teacher using a consultative process with a specially trained and appropriately certified individual.

Support Services include:

  • Speech/Language Pathology
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Physical Therapy
  • School Social Work Services
  • School Psychology Services

In most districts and schools in Iowa support services are provided by Area Education Agency staff.

Related Services

Related services are transportation and such developmental, corrective and other supportive services as are required to assist child with disabilities to benefit from special education.

Related services include:

  • Specialized Transportation
  • Orientation and Mobility
  • School Health Services
  • School Nurse Services
  • Parent Counseling and Training
  • FM Auditory Trainer

Specialized Accessible Formats

Specialized accessible formats refer to methods of making information accessible to persons who may not be able to access printed material. The most common types of accessible formats are:

  • Electronic text
  • Large print
  • Audio
  • Braille
  • Tactile graphics

National Instructional Materials Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) website

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on March 24, 2018 at 4:46pm.