Child Find

Child Find is a legal requirement that schools “find” children (ages birth through 21) with disabilities who may need special education services.   If the school knows or suspects a child has a disability then, according to the law, it must agree to evaluations.  Here are some excellent resources detailing Child Find:

https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/your-childs-rights/basics-about-childs-rights/child-find-what-it-is-and-how-it-works

http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/child.find.index.htm

http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/policies/project-child-find

 

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

childfind-poster
Advertisements

Requesting an Evaluation

Previously, we wrote a couple of posts talking about what to do if your child is struggling in school What Does the School Do if My Child is Struggling? and What Can I Do if My Child is Struggling in School?

We wanted to specifically touch on the option of a parent requesting an evaluation.  According to IDEA,  you do have the right to request an evaluation from your child’s public school. This letter must be in writing. The public school is responsible for providing and paying for any evaluation for any child who may need special education services.  This link provides details http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/tests.evals.crabtree.htm.  Another good reference can be found here http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/evaluation-2/

You also have an option of obtaining an outside evaluation and bringing it to your child’s school.  Public schools must consider all private evaluations as part of the fact finding process for your child. Here is a link that details your rights if you choose to have an independent evaluation performed outside of your child’s school http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/test.iee.steedman.htm

We have prepared a simple letter requesting an evaluation to send to your child’s school.  The words in bold need to be changed to add specific details such as your child’s name, areas of concern, date, etc.  Remember, once you have officially requested an evaluation, your child’s school must contact you to set up a meeting to discuss your child’s strengths, areas of need/concern, interventions tried and the results of those interventions.  Here is a link to a past post about what type of meeting you will have Know Your Forms-Referral For Help

Here is the letter that you can download to request an evaluation:

letter-requesting-an-evaulation

Here is a copy of the letter if you would rather type it in a different format:

 

                                                                                                                                    DATE-month,day,year

 

Dear (preferably addressed to EC Teacher and/or principal),

 

I have concerns regarding (insert your child’s name) in (insert specific area such as reading, writing, math, social).   I have spoken with my child’s teacher, (name) and we have tried certain strategies to help him (or her). However, he (or she) continues to have difficulty in this area (or areas-be specific).

I would like to formally request an evaluation for my child to discuss his (or her) strengths and areas of needs in school. I would like to have a meeting within ten days of this letter to begin the process.

I can be reached at (e-mail address) or (phone number).

 

Thank you. I look forward to meeting and discussing how to help (your child’s name).

 

Sincerely,

                                                                             Your Name

 

 

As always, if you have any questions about this process, please send us an e-mail at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

Resource for Schools

We both love organization and being able to find what we need quick and easily.  Especially when it comes to paperwork. We have created these forms for schools to use within EC files.  “Unit 1” will clip together a full set of paperwork for a child.  From there, you can divide the sets of paperwork with the cover sheet of Unit 2.  We have used these in the past and NCDPI has commented to us how helpful it was when going through EC files.  Once the paperwork is put in each child’s folder, you can put one of these cover sheets to divide each section.  You can print it on colored paper to see it clearly, or use a binder clip at the bottom to clip each section together.  We recommend having the newest paperwork on top and then progressing down from there.  Typically, your first unit will be at the bottom  of the file.

Please let us know if you have any questions or need help organizing your EC files in your school.

unit-1-cs

following-units-2-cs

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

 

Know Your Forms-Referral For Help

In order to be prepared for a meeting, it is important to know your forms. We’re going to break down the forms into separate blog posts because it can be confusing as there are several forms for each step. This post is for initial referrals for specialized help.  Please also refer to the post The Importance of a DEC5

An excellent reference to all of the forms is the North Carolina’s Department of Public Instructions (NCDPI) page. http://ec.ncpublicschools.gov/policies/forms/statewide-forms This page tells you what each form is and even gives directions on how it should be filled out.  Do not hesitate to also call or e-mail your child’s case manager with questions about the process, forms, or information you would like to see noted.

Before every meeting, you will receive a paper invitation stating the day and time of your meeting.  If there is a conflict, you can write on the form requesting a second option and send it back to the school.  If the day and time work, you sign the invitation and send it back to the school.  You can also write in the people you are bringing to the meeting on this form. Examples would include tutors, therapists, advocates, or psychologists.

Most schools will have a draft prepared before you arrive. You can request to see the draft prior to the meeting so you are also prepared for what will be discussed. Always remember, you are part of your child’s team. You have the right to add information or even make suggestions for how some things can be worded.

At this initial referral meeting, your child’s team will first address if your child has had a recent vision and hearing screening. This rules out your child’s specific needs are not caused by any possible hearing or vision problems.  You will then discuss his/her strengths in all academic and functional areas (such as reading, writing, math, gross and fine motor skills, and daily living activities).  The next step will be to address any areas of concerns and any medical diagnosis your child may have.  After discussing and documenting the areas of concern, your team will then decide one of three things: The first option is for no evaluations to be conducted based on the information reviewed. A statement will be written to explain this decision. If this choice is made, the special education process stops.  However, there are times the team decides your child would benefit from a 504 Plan.  That will be a separate meeting.  For the differences in IEPs and 504s, please check out our blog post 504 and IEP’s: What’s the difference?  The second option is the team determines the current data is enough to say your child qualifies for one of the 14 disabling conditions North Carolina recognizes. This most typically would happen when a child is aging in to the school district through early intervention. The third option would be to conduct evaluations.  The team may decide they need more data such as a speech and language therapy evaluation or a psychological and educational evaluation.   If you decide on option 3, then you will also then sign a form called a DEC 2 which gives permission for your child to receive these evaluations. The third option is the most common.

The process for a referral, which includes gathering more data through evaluations if necessary,  is 90 days.  The end of 90 days date will be marked on your initial referral paperwork which is also called a DEC 1.

By the end of this meeting, you should have a copy of the following paperwork: Invitation To the Meeting, the Referral (also known as a DEC1 form), the Prior Notice/DEC 5 (The Importance of a DEC5) and the Informed Consent for Evaluation (also known as the DEC 2 form) if the team decided to collect more evaluations.  It is a good idea to start a new file folder or have an organized place to file these forms.  That way, you can easily access them when you have questions or concerns for your child’s school or need to refer to them for counselors, etc.

With Appreciation,

Christina and Wendy

 

 

 

 

 

What Can I Do if My Child is Struggling in School?

The RTI system is a lenghty process.  Perhaps you, as a parent, have outside evaluations and information that you can share with your child’s school.  North Carolina schools must consider your private evaluations as part of the data finding process in identifying your child’s unique learning needs.  A parent can also formally request a special education meeting to evaluate for special education services.  Once the parent has made this request, the school has 90 days to start and complete the process.  Please read the blog post Knowing Your Forms (coming very soon) to learn about the different forms and what they mean.  During the first meeting, the team will discuss your child’s strenghts in various areas and his/her areas of need.  The team will also discuss any evaluations or inofrmation you might have and what interventions have been tried prior to this meeting.  After all data has been discussed and documented, one of three decisions will be made: 1. conduct an evaluation 2. determine your child is eligible for services or 3. do not conduct an evalution.

If the decision is to conduct the evalution, the team will decide based on the areas of need which evaluation will be conducted.  If there is enough data to support finding your child eligible at this meeting, eligibility forms can then be completed and an IEP implemented.

The third choice of not conducting an evluation could happen as a reult of not having enough data.  It could also result in your child moving to a meeting for a 504 instead (there is an upcoming blog post coming soon about the differences between IEPs and 504s). If the team decides that there is not enough data the team may decide to also have your child go back into the RTI process to gather more information, observations and overall data on what your child needs to be more successful in his/her school environment. The law says, however, that the RTI process can not be used to prolong or delay evaluating. If it is decided that your child should be evaluated based on current data, then the information that would be collected through RTI must be complete before the timeframe for the special education process is complete. In North Carolina, that would be 90 days from the day the school received the referral.

If you need help writing a letter to your child’s school, please check out this link: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/evaluation-2/

 

With Appreciation,

Wendy and Christina

 

What Does the School Do if My Child is Struggling?

Your child is struggling in school. You’ve noticed it and most likely your child’s teachers have noticed the struggles.  It could be in behavior, reading, math, sensory, etc.  You’ve brought up your concerns with your child’s teacher and the two of you have talked about possible ways you can help him/her at school as well as at home.  Yet, the struggles continue and your child is falling behind.  This seems like something that is beyond what common classroom modifications can help alone.

If your child is in a public school, it is common for him/her to then go through the RTI or MTSS process.  RTI stands for Response To Intervention and MTSS stands for multi-tiered system of supports.  RTI is a multi tiered system that identifies specific struggles within a student and collects data on how the interventions have helped or not helped your child.  The overall method is a common one, however, it may look a little different depending on what county you live in and if your child attends a public school or a charter school. If you would like to learn more about RTI and MTSS  you can ask your school for further details and/or check out the following links:  www.learnnc.org/lp/pages/6880 and http://mtss.ncdpi.wikispaces.net

The RTI method can be lengthy but it is intended to gather good information on how your child learns, what interventions have worked and what specific struggles your child continues to have.  If your child has worked through this tier system and continues to need specialized help, he/she is typically then referred to the exceptional children’s department (special education).

With Appreciation,

Wendy and Christina