The special education referral process can be overwhelming for educators and parents alike. To better understand it, the referral process should be broken down into a few steps. Read on to learn the steps of the special education referral process.
Before the referral process can begin, a child’s teacher may observe that they are not making adequate progress in their academics. Teachers should keep records of observations of the student, progress monitoring data, and any interventions they have used to try to help this student. A phone call home may also be made to determine if there are similar concerns.
If it is determined that the family is also having concerns, a team meeting should be held to decide the next steps. The pre-referral is used to collect more information on the student and to test new interventions that may be beneficial to the child. During this meeting, a date is set for a meeting to discuss the results of the interventions.
Teachers and educators are very likely to initiate the special education referral process. However, it is important to note that parents are able to make this request as well. A school district has 10 days to begin an evaluation if requested by the parents. Again, a team meeting would be held and the same steps would be taken.
After the educational team has concluded their data collection of whether interventions were successful or unsuccessful, a team meeting is held. If interventions were unsuccessful, the referral for an evaluation can begin. A school may not begin the evaluation process without consent from the parent or legal guardian. Once consent is given, the school has 60 days to complete the evaluation.
Sixty days can seem like a long time to parents waiting on special education determination. However, a lot happens within those 60 days. A special education evaluation looks at the whole child; academically, behaviorally, and physically. The school psychologist will conduct unbiased assessments, but other school personnel may also assess the students. This includes speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. The child’s doctor may also provide relevant information from their medical history. Once all of the assessments are completed, the team will pool together all of the information in detail. This detailed information is then used to determine if a student qualifies for special education services through the 13 disability categories of IDEA.
After all of the information has been reviewed with the team, a determination needs to be made. This determination is whether or not the student qualifies for special education services under one of the 13 disability categories of IDEA. If it is determined that the student does qualify, an IEP will be created with the team. Appropriate special education services will then begin once the IEP is completed.
Special Ed. Laws
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