If you have a child with learning and thinking differences, you’ve probably heard the phrase “services and supports.” Both of these enable your child get help in the classroom. And they’re both covered in IEPs, 504 plans, and response to intervention (RTI).
But while the terms services and supports may be used interchangeably and your child may receive both, they actually mean different things. Here are the key differences.
|What they are|
Changes to how and what students learn, aimed at helping them succeed in school. That might mean making progress or staying on the same learning level as their peers.
Help in specific areas such as speech or motor skills. Often called related services or direct services. Services provide the extra help kids need to benefit from general or special education.
|How kids get them|
Different types of supports can be provided through IEPs, 504 plans and RTI.
Different types of services can be provided through IEPs, 504 plans and RTI.
|What they cover|
Examples of changes in scheduling:
Examples of changes in setting:
Examples of changes in materials:
Examples of changes in instruction:
Examples of changes in how a student shows knowledge:
Examples of related services:
Examples of supplementary aids and services:
If you’re just getting started with services and supports, learn more about special education basics and your rights in the IEP process. Understand the differences between IEPs and 504 plans. And if you’re seeking special education for your child, find out how the process works.
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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.
Andrea M. Spencer, PhD has extensive leadership experience in programs serving student with disabilities and at risk of failure.