The Special Education Referral Process
Students between the ages of 3 and 21 suspected of having an educational disability may be referred to the Child Study Team for an evaluation by a variety of sources but generally they come from one of the following:
Parent(s) may initiate a Child Study Team referral for their child who may be experiencing significant academic, behavioral or emotional difficulties in the classroom by contacting the Principal/Director of Special Services and forwarding the request in writing. NOTE: E-mail referrals are not accepted.
Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) is a building-based, inter-disciplinary team that meets regularly to provide intervention(s) for students experiencing significant academic, behavioral or emotional difficulties in the classroom. School staff typically refer students to the I&RS team. Once I&RS has exhausted its resources and determines that additional information may be necessary, or feels that the student may be educationally disabled, the I&RS forwards a Child Study Team referral to the Director of Special Services. The Director will coordinate an Identification Meeting with the parent(s), Child Study Team and the student’s teacher(s) to discuss the student’s academic, behavioral or emotional difficulties and a possible evaluation for Special Education and Related Services.
An individual from an outside agency (doctor, social worker, etc) may refer a student to the Child Study Team who is experiencing significant academic, behavioral or emotional difficulties in the classroom.
What happens once a Child Study Team referral is made?
Once the referral has been made, a Case Manager is assigned and has twenty (20) days to schedule an Identification Meeting. The necessary personnel expected to attend this meeting would be a social worker, psychologist, learning disabilities teacher-consultant, classroom teacher, speech-language specialist (if the suspected disability included that area or the child is age 3-5) and the parent.
Are students automatically tested if the request is made?
No. At the Initial Planning/Identification Meeting it is determined if a Child Study Team Evaluation is warranted and if so an Evaluation Plan is developed. If it is determined that evaluations are not warranted, the student may be referred to the I&RS and/or Committee, as necessary.
What happens if it is determined that the student needs to be tested?
Once it is determined that testing is necessary an Evaluation Plan is developed and the parent/guardian gives written permission. The district then has ninety (90) days to complete the necessary evaluations. Within the ninety (90) days an Eligibility Conference is scheduled where the evaluations are interpreted and it is determined if the student is eligible for special education and/or related services. If the student is determined eligible, an Individual Education Program (IEP) will be developed by the IEP Team.
Eligibility of Students
A student shall be determined eligible and classified “Eligible for Special Education and Related Services” when the student has one
or more of the following disabilities as defined in 6A:14. There are 14 categories:
1. Auditory Impaired
3. Intellectually Disabled
4. Communication Impaired
5. Emotionally Disturbed
6. Multiply Disabled
8. Orthopedically Impaired
9. Other Health Impaired
10. Pre-School with a Disability
11. Social Maladjustment
12. Specific Learning Disability
13. Traumatic Brain Injury
14. Visually Impaired
Programs and Services
If the child is found eligible for special education services, the appropriateness of placement is decided with the IEP Team from a continuum of services, which could include:
General Education Placement
General Education w/ Consultation
In-Class Support w/ Teacher
In-Class Assistance w/ Aide (Supplemental Support)
Out of Class Resource
Related Services could include:
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Speech Therapy
The goal for students who are eligible for special education services to receive a large majority of those services within the general education setting, which is the least restrictive environment.