Pull-Out Related Service Transitions Made Easy

Special education teachers are no strangers to the revolving door of students coming and going to various services.  It can be overwhelming and distracting but my team put together some procedures that made the transitions a few years ago that made a huge difference.

Create A Master Schedule

I have tried a few different formats, but the one that worked best for me and my team was a chart that includes each student's weekly schedule.  I kept a printed copy taped onto the inside of a cabinet door behind my desk.  I referred to the chart often when I was planning special activities or tests that I didn't want anybody to miss out on.  I have an editable version of this chart in my TpT store

Give Students Responsibility

If your students are able to read a schedule and tell time, you should give them a written copy of their personal services schedule.  If you already have a master schedule like the one above, it is easy to just print an extra copy and cut it apart.  

When I worked in an inclusion room where we stayed in the same room the entire day, I had it taped to their desk.

When I worked in a grade level that transitioned between departmentalized teachers, I taped their schedule inside their homework folder that went to each class with them.
Find the Bibliography Guide Here
Find the Bibliography Guide By Clicking the Photo

Have Therapists Inform You Of Absences

The therapists I worked with were wonderful about letting me know if they were not going to be able to take a student for their designated time.  When I received an email about an illness or another obligation such as testing or a meeting, I would write a note on the board.  A simple "No OT Today" on the front board will let your students and paraprofessionals know what to expect for the day.

Use Signs Instead Of Words

During my first year teaching in a large inclusion room, it was confusing when a therapist came to my door.  Some of the students were not able to keep track of their schedules yet so the therapist would call out their names.  Sometimes our group work was loud so it was difficult to hear which names they were calling.  It was so distracting for the entire class!  After a few weeks, we came up with a new plan.  The therapists created a binder with a page for each session.  One the page included the names of the students they were pulling for THAT session only.  When the therapist would come into the classroom, they could hold the sign up and the correct students would line up.  This was a total game changer!

Send Appropriate Work With The Student

The reason students get these related services is to lessen deficits and to make it easier for the student to access the curriculum.  If a student has an Occupational Therapy goal of improving handwriting, send some written classwork with them.  This helps keep the student caught up in their class but it also prevents the student from doing busy work just for the sake of therapy.

I worked with a speech therapist that asked for vocabulary words each week.  She wanted to reinforce the language we were using in our classroom with her therapy sessions.

This will not work for all therapy sessions.  Talk to the therapists in your building and ask what will work for your student and their therapy goals.  

Create A Buddy System

Partner your students that need to leave the classroom for a service with another student that does not need to leave the room during that time.  Have the buddy collect papers or take notes for the student that is not in the classroom during that time.  I have also successfully used paraprofessionals in this buddy role.  

Invite Entire Team To Meetings

You may already meet with your paraprofessionals on a weekly basis.  If you're not already, here is a previous blog post about how to implement and make those meetings successful.  The related service therapists that work with your students are also a part of your team!  Invite them to join you for your meetings.  A weekly meeting may be too much for their busy schedules, but have the join you once a month instead!  You can learn so much about your students and what can help them from their therapists.


Having students coming and going all day long will always come with challenges.  However, the therapies and services your students attend are vital to their education.  

I would love to know if there is anything else that you do in your classroom to make all of the transitions more manageable!

No comments

Post a Comment