Types of Related Services 

The list below includes the most common related services provided to students at DCPS schools.

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Audiologists identify hearing loss, study how the brain processes sound, and determine the range, nature and degree of hearing loss. They also provide rehabilitative intervention to improve students’ ability to communicate and participate in educational activities. 

School audiologists select and fit students for equipment and evaluate its effectiveness. They also repair and maintain equipment and educate students and teachers on how to use and maintain the devices.

Social Work

Social workers and other mental health professionals work with children on issues they face at school, at home, in the community and elsewhere that affect their ability to participate in and benefit from their education. Delivered mostly by social workers, these services can include group or individual counseling, home visits, and social, emotional and behavioral assessments. 

School social workers work with teachers to analyze student behavior and functioning over time in order to develop strategies that help maximize learning in the classroom. These social workers also connect students and families with community resources to maximize the impact of in-school behavioral support services and are part of the Crisis Response Team, which supports students and school staff when a crisis occurs.

Speech-Language Pathology

Speech-Language Pathologists identify children with specific disorders and delays related to language communication, and provide therapy to help these students overcome the impact of these challenges on their academic success. This includes completing diagnostic assessments to determine the presence/absence of a communication disorder, and providing support in areas of articulation, language, voice and/or fluency. In addition, additional support may include the use of technology to help students become more independent, such as devices that assist non-verbal students with communication.

Speech language pathologists work closely with teachers and parents to build speech-language skills and help students apply those skills to all learning opportunities by reinforcing strategies in the classroom and at home.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational Therapists work with students and teachers to improve student’s ability to perform day-to-day tasks, such as reaching and grasping skills so they can better hold books and classroom materials. In addition, Occupational therapists address performance skills (motor, process, communication/interaction), performance patterns (habits, routines and roles), performance contexts (i.e. cultural, physical and social), activity demands and student factors (body functions and structures). They work with teachers to implement strategies in the classroom and engage students in activities that effectively enhance mobility, dexterity and coordination.

Occupational Therapy services include improving, developing or restoring functions impaired or lost through illness, injury or deprivation. The skills can include tasks like drawing, use of scissors and hand-eye coordination. These services address needs of children as related to self-help skills, adaptive behavior and play, sensory and motor skills, with a primary focus on improving ability to perform tasks for independent functioning.

Physical Therapy

Physical Therapists work with students and teachers to address student’s ability to move parts of the body, assuming and maintaining postures, and organizing movement and functional gross motor skills. This includes activities geared to build strength and endurance for functional mobility (e.g. climbing stairs, opening doors, mobility throughout the school, accessing the playground). After diagnosing challenges, Physical Therapists support the educational team through aiding student mobility, sometimes with special equipment, including the use of walkers and other supports. 


Psychologists usually support students and educators by giving psychological and developmental tests analyzing information about child behaviors and cognitive functioning, and interpreting these results with school staff and parents. Through testing, psychologists develop appropriate interventions and strategies to assist individual students in academic growth and school adjustment. In addition, they serve in a consultative role with designated personnel to offer prevention and intervention strategies related to learning and behavioral problems of students; and provide consultation on an on-going basis to teachers, parents, and school personnel to resolve student’s learning and behavioral problems.

School psychologists also help school staff and parents develop learning and behavior strategies for students engaged in the Student Support Team process. DCPS psychologists work with parents, teachers and other IEP team members to ensure that test results and other important information is used to develop goals and appropriate services and strategies to meet each student’s needs.

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