At your child’s IEP meeting, the IEP team (which includes you) has to make a number of decisions. For instance, the team has to agree on services and supports for your child. But there’s another step to consider after that. You have to decide if the services will be “push-in” or “pull-out.”
What does that mean, and what’s the difference between the two options? It’s not the services that are different — it’s the way your child receives them. This chart compares push-in and pull-out services side-by-side.
|Push-in services||Pull-out services|
What they are
Specialists work closely with students in the general education classroom. Instructional support, differentiated instruction, or related services are provided in the classroom.
Specialists work closely with students outside of the general education classroom. Instructional support or related services are provided in small groups or one-on-one in a separate setting.
How it works
Push-in services happen in the general education classroom. The general education teacher, special education teacher, and others (like speech therapists or occupational therapists) work collaboratively. This is called inclusive education.
The push-in provider brings the instruction and any necessary materials to the student. A reading specialist, for example, may come into the class to work with a student during language arts.
Pull-out services typically happen in a setting outside the general education classroom.
While the general education teacher is an important resource, she’s rarely involved in pull-out services. Instead, the specialist provides the instruction, and it doesn’t have to be integrated with the general education curriculum. It really depends on a student’s needs.
The student goes to the pull-out provider’s classroom to work one-on-one or in a small group setting.
How kids get them
Services can be provided through IEPs, response to intervention (RTI), informal supports, and other instructional interventions.
Services can be provided through IEPs, RTI, informal supports, and other instructional interventions.
Pros and cons
Read what a mom wants teachers to know about her (special education inclusion) child. And hear from another mom who shares an experience her son had with pull-out services.
Tell us what interests you
About the author
About the author
Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days.
Melody Musgrove, EdD served as director of the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) in the U.S. Department of Education.