What Is the Definition of Ancillary Services?

How these services help special needs children

Child at speech therapy session
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Get the facts on ancillary services, including how they are defined and how they help special needs children, with this overview.

Why Do Ancillary Services Help Special Needs Children?

Simply put, ancillary services are support services that are provided to children with disabilities to help them reach their individual educational program (IEP) goals. Ancillary services include services such as speech, occupational and physical therapy, which are also called related services or supplementary aids and services.

Speech therapy is one of the most common ancillary services provided to children in special education programs in school districts throughout the country. Oftentimes, children receive more of such services the younger they are. For example, they would receive the bulk of such services in grades K-2, somewhat less in grades 3-4 and significantly less in grades 5-12. 

When children are in the early grades of elementary school, it's not uncommon for them to receive at least 60 minutes of speech therapy per week. Therapy can be provided in increments throughout the week, with one individual child or with a small group of children with language-related disorders.

Even children who don't need speech or adaptive physical therapy need ancillary services. Children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), for example, receive supplemental services as well. These services include tutoring or pullout classes.

This is because students with ADHD have trouble concentrating in large groups of students where they face a number of distractions. Ancillary services for students with ADHD also include after-school programs and special accommodations for the students while they are in class.

School districts provide a greater amount of ancillary services when children are young because they realize the importance of early detection of learning problems, such as speech disorders.

By working with the child when he's still very young, school personnel can largely help the child overcome the disorder. As the child increasingly masters the language problems he has, he'll need fewer and fewer ancillary services.

Accordingly, if parents notice that their child appears to have a learning problem of some kind, it's imperative that they get help for the child immediately. Doing so gives the child the best chance at success and overcoming the problem while they're still young.

Ancillary Services Are Available to All Children

Even parents who are homeschooling children or have sent them to private schools are entitled to ancillary services courtesy of their public school district if it's been determined that the children have a learning disability or other disorder that requires intervention for them to function optimally in school. The services the child needs should be outlined in his IEP, however, and can be accessed by students in private schools if such schools don't have the services available.

Alternative Names for Ancillary Services

The phrase ancillary services is sometimes used to mean the same thing as related services or supplementary aids and services. Which services a child with special needs should receive will be outlined on the IEP.

Evaluation of the child, a doctor's examination and observations from teachers and parents can collectively determine which ancillary services are appropriate.

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