The Child Study Team (CST) consists of a Learning-Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDT/C), School Psychologist, and School Social Worker. A preschool team also includes a Speech/Language Specialist. CST members participate in the evaluation and determination of eligibility of students who may need special education and services. In cases where a speech and/or language impairment is suspected, the Speech-Language Specialist may function as a member of the CST.
EVALUATION PROCESS AND TIMELINESS:
Once a referral is received, the parents/guardians will be invited to a meeting that will be scheduled within twenty (20 ) days. The meeting is called an Identification Meeting because it will identify what information is needed to determine if your child has a disability and needs special education. Participants at this meeting include the classroom teacher, CST, and the parent. Others who may be of benefit for this discussion may also be invited to participate, and you can bring people who have knowledge of your child that could be helpful in this decision-making process. If an evaluation is needed, then you will be informed of the evaluations that will be done and the procedures that will be used. You will receive a summary of the evaluation plan which is contained in the written notice.
Copies of the Special Education Code (N.J.A.C. 6A:14) and the Due Process Rules in N.J.A.C. 1:6A will be given to you.
Your written permission to (consent) is required before the initial assessments by the Child Study Team can begin. After you sign consent to evaluate your child, the evaluations, eligibility determination, and the initiation of the IEP (if eligible) shall be completed within ninety (90) calendar days.
Once your consent is given, the team will conduct the evaluations agreed upon, with the purpose of gathering information about your child's physical health (if necessary), social-emotional well being, and academic and/or cognitive abilities to assess area(s) identified as potential disabilities. This will be done through observations, assessments, interviews with your child's teachers and the parents, review of records, and informal measures.
After the evaluations are completed, you will receive copies of the reports and you will be invited to an eligibility meeting to have the evaluations explained. The participants at this meeting will consist of the parents, teacher(s), Child Study Team member(s), and student where appropriate. Parents can bring other individuals with knowledge or special expertise to the meeting.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR CLASSIFICATION:
The classification of students is described in code and should be based on the evaluations of the Child Study Team, information from the parents, and other specialists. If your child meets the eligibility requirements to receive special education and related services, he/she will be classified as "Eligible for Special Education and Related Services."
A student shall be determined eligible if:
- it is determined that he/she has one or more of the criteria in 6A:14-3.5,
- when the disability affects the student's educational performance, and
- when the student is in need of special education and related services.
Disabilities listed in N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.5 are:
- Auditory Impairment
- Emotional Regulation Impairment
- Intellectual Disability
- Communication Impairment
- Multiple Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Other Health Impairment
- Preschool Disability
- Specific Learning Disability
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visual Impairment
WHAT IS AN INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP)?
The Individualized Education Program is an individual plan to meet your child's special education needs. The IEP is the primary mechanism for parental participation in the special education process, and serves as the agreement between the local school district and the parents to provide required services.
The IEP will describe your child's special education programs and the related services he/she will receive, and it will include:
- A description of your child's present levels of academic achievement and functional performance that summarizes abilities and weaknesses. Areas include: academic achievement, cognitive functioning, personal and social development, and physical and health status.
- Annual goals and objectives that are aligned to the New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards. Goals and objectives are never copy and pasted, they are always individualized to meet a student's needs. These goals represent anticipated outcomes that your child can reasonably be expected to achieve in a year's time. The task of selecting appropriate goals and objectives involves teachers, parents, CST, and sometimes therapists, when appropriate. Depending on the age of the student, it can often be appropriate to include the student . Once 14 years of age, legally students are also formally invited.
- Statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services that will be provided for your child and program modifications or supports that will be provided for school personnel on behalf of your child.
- An explanation of the extent, if any to which your child will not participate with non-disabled students in the general education class and it extracurricular and nonacademic activities.
- Statement of individual modifications to the program which will also include a statement of why particular Statewide or districtwide assessment of your child's achievement is not appropriate and a statement of how he/she will be assessed if this is the case.
- Projected date for the beginning of services including the anticipated frequency, location and duration of those services;
- Statement of the State and local graduation requirements that your child with a disability is expected to meet.
- Statement of how your child's progress toward the annual goals will be measured.
- Statement of how parents will be regularly informed of student progress.
The school district needs to receive consent before the student's initial program can be implemented. Thereafter, on an annual basis parents are invited to participate in all revisions to the IEP.
The program or placement of your child should be determined after your child's needs have been identified and goals and objectives have been established. A full continuum of alternative placements shall be considered to meet the needs of s student from the least restrictive to the most restrictive type of placements including instruction in a regular class with supplementary aids and services, resource programs, self contained classes, out-of-district placements, hospital bound, or home instruction. To the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities are educated with children who are not disabled. Placement is provided in appropriate educational settings as close to home as possible.
Related services are a variety of educational services that are provided to students with disabilities to enable them to make progress in their special education program. Related services are listed in the IEP. These might include:
- Speech and language therapy
- Counseling services
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
PREPARING FOR & PARTICIPATING IN THE IEP MEETING
The following are suggestions that may be helpful in preparing for an IEP meeting:
- Become familiar with the New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C. 6A:14) pertaining to Special Education, available from the Office of Special Services). www.state.nj.us/education/code/current/title6a/chap14.pdf
- Review your child's evaluations.
- Make a list of your child's interests, strengths and weaknesses (learning style, motivators, work habits, social relationships, self-concept).
- Prepare a list of questions to ask participant to clarify any information, statements, or terms you do not understand.
- Read the recommendations carefully to see that they adequately describe the suggested programs and services.
- Ask how you can best help your child prepare for his/her new program/placement.
- If questions or concerns arise at the meeting or after, know that the CST and your child's teacher are available to help you.