What is a referral?
A referral is a formal written request to the Child Study Team for evaluation of a student to determine eligibility for special education and related services, or to the speech/language specialist to determine whether a student is eligible for speech services.
Who can make a referral?
When should a student be referred?
In general, students who are experiencing academic or behavioral difficulties are first referred to the Intervention and Referral Services Committee (I&RS). The purpose of this committee is to provide support and guidance to school staff through the creation of strategies and interventions that address educational difficulties in the general education setting.
If the I&RS process exhausts all of the available school-based regular education interventions with minimal success, the student may then be referred to the Child Study Team.
A direct referral to the Child Study Team may be made when it can be documented that the nature of the student's educational problem(s) is such that evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services is warranted without delay.
What are the next steps following referral?
Once a referral is received, the Child Study Team will schedule a meeting with the parents and the student's teacher within 20 calendar days (excluding school holidays, but including summer vacation). The purpose of this meeting will be to determine the need for a comprehensive evaluation, based on a review of available information regarding the student's educational progress. If an evaluation is warranted, the nature and scope of the Child Study Team or speech evaluation will be discussed and an Evaluation Plan created. Upon receipt of parental consent, the evaluation will begin.
What are the timelines?
Once parental consent has been obtained, the district has ninety (90) days to complete the entire evaluation, eligibility and placement process.
How is eligibility determined?
After completing the evaluations, the Child Study Team will conduct a meeting with the parent(s) and student's teacher(s) to review findings and determine eligibility for special education and related services. If the student is found eligible, then an Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be developed. Parental consent is required for implementation of services on all initial evaluations.
Child Study Team assessments, specialized evaluations where appropriate (such as speech, hearing, neurological, psychiatric, etc.), and all pertinent information provided by other school personnel or from the parent(s) will be considered in determining eligibility.
To be eligible for Special Education and Related Services:
A student must be identified as having a disability that meets the criteria of eligibility categories, as defined by NJ 6A:14-3.5c (1-14).
The disability must adversely affect the student's educational performance; and
The student must be in need of special education and related services.
The school district must provide a copy of the evaluation report(s) and documentation of eligibility to the parent(s) not less than ten (10) calendar days prior to the eligibility meeting.