The San Mateo County Office of Education (SMCOE) provides related services to students in special education to help them achieve the goals laid out in their individualized education program (IEP). We offer support in audiology, adapted physical education, orientation and mobility, and visual impairment, among other areas.
Equity Through Access: Related Service Providers at Work
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) defines "related services" as any supportive service provided to a child with a disability that helps the child access or receive a benefit from special education. Each child is unique and requires a different set of services to access their education.
The student pictured here is on a class field trip, exploring the intertidal zone in Half Moon Bay. Her needs include orthopedic and visual accommodations to participate in the curriculum in a meaningful way. The student walked to the tide pools with the aid of a walker but required physical assistance to get into the water. Once in the water, she was able to catalog the marine organisms using a science notebook adapted for her vision impairment.
The success of this lesson relied on a combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy, vision services, speech therapy, and, most importantly, input from the student's parents.
Audiology services are provided to students with hearing loss, whether or not they use hearing aides or cochlear implants. These services provide access to the auditory curriculum in their school setting and allow for clear and easy communication with teachers and peers. Services include the fitting of assistive listening technology, direct student support, and consultative services to teachers and staff.
The purpose of the Integrated Hearing Impaired Services program is to maximize a student’s participation in the general education core curriculum by providing academic support, auditory training, self-advocacy skills, and language expansion for students whose hearing loss adversely impacts educational performance. This could include increasing use of vocabulary, improving oral and written language use and structure, improving grammatical skills, increasing ability to follow directions, improving auditory comprehension, and increasing students’ ability to self-advocate for hearing needs.
Adapted physical education is intended for students who need developmental or corrective instruction and who are unable to participate in general physical education activities. We provide a modified general physical education program and a specially designed physical education program in a special class.
Orientation and Mobility (O&M) services are provided by qualified, credentialed personnel to students who are blind or have a visual impairment. The goal is to help these students become oriented to and move safely around their environments in school, at home, and in the community.
Visual Impairment services are provided to support students who have a documented visual impairment that, even with correction, adversely affects their educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.
Visit our Student Services section for a full list of special education referral forms.
For Students in County Office Programs
We also offer two types of services for students enrolled in SMCOE programs:
- Speech and Language
Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) work to prevent, assess, diagnose, and treat speech, language, social communication, and cognitive-communication in children in the school setting. These services can be conducted in individual or group sessions as well as in consultation with the classroom teacher.
- Augmentative Alternative Communication
Augmentative alternative communication (AAC) specialists evaluate students and work with teachers and other school personnel to find equipment, software, and/or strategies to support students with disabilities. AAC includes all communication (other than oral speech) used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. Many of our students use communication aids, such as picture and symbol communication boards, to express themselves.