Child Study Team Referral Process

  • What is a referral?
    A referral is a request for an evaluation when a child is suspected of having a disability and might need special education services. This referral to the Child Study Team is usually made to the building Intervention and Referral Services Committee,who will develop an intervention plan to provide additional support for the student in the general education classroom. If the student continues to experience difficulties, the I&RS Committee will determine the next course of action, which could include amending the Intervention Plan, determining 504 eligibility or referring the student to the Child Study Team for potential evaluation.

    How is a student referred for a Child Study Team Evaluation?
    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. If you believe that your child may have a disability, you may refer your child for an evaluation by submitting a written request to your school district.
    Who can make a referral?
    I&RS: School staff and/or the building administrator(s) can refer a student to the Child Study Team through their school based Intervention and Referral Service (I&RS) Committee. The I&RS Committees are building-based, multi-disciplinary teams that meet regularly to develop intervention plans for students experiencing significant academic and/or social/emotional difficulties in the classroom. Once the I&RS Committee determines that additional information may be necessary, I&RS Committee forwards a Child Study Team referral to the Director of Student Services.  The Director of Student Services forwards the referral to the Child Study Team who schedules an Initial Planning Meeting with the parent(s), Child Study Team and the student’s teacher(s) to discuss the student’s academic and/or social/emotional difficulties and a possible evaluation for Special Education and Related Services.
    PARENT(S): Parent(s) may initiate a Child Study Team referral for their child who may be experiencing significant academic and/or social/emotional difficulties in the classroom by forwarding the request in writing to the Director of Student Services.

    Who are the members of the Child Study Team?
    The New Jersey Department of Education requires that the Child Study Team include a School Psychologist, a Learning Disabilities Teacher-Consultant, and a School Social Worker. These professionals are all certified and employed directly by Lawrence Township Board of Education.
    What is the procedure after the referral is made?
    Once the referral has been made, the Case Manager has twenty (20) calendar days (excluding school holidays) to schedule an Identification Meeting. The necessary personnel expected to attend this meeting would be a social worker, psychologist, learning disabilities teacher-consultant, general education teacher, special education teacher, and possibly a speech & language therapist (if the suspected disability included that area or the child was age 3-5) and the parent(s).
    Are students automatically assessed if the request is made?
    No, they are not. When a request for a Child Study Team evaluation is made, an Initial Planning/Identification Meeting must be scheduled. At that meeting, it is determined if a Child Study Team Evaluation is warranted and if so an Evaluation Plan is developed.
    If the team determines an evaluation is not warranted, they may refer to the school’s I&RS Committee, requesting that the I&RS Committee amend the current InterventionPlan and/or refer the child to the 504 Committee.
    What is an evaluation?
    An evaluation is the process used to determine whether your child has a disability. This process includes a review of any relevant data, and the individual administration of any tests, assessments and observations of your child. For an initial evaluation, at least two child study team members and other specialists, as required or as determined necessary, must participate. A minimum of two assessments of your child are needed to determine eligibility for special education and related services. Each assessment must be conducted by a person who has appropriate training, or who is qualified to conduct the assessment through his or her professional license or certificate.
    When is an evaluation warranted?
    An evaluation is needed when the parent(s), the members of the child's study team and your child’s teacher meet and decide that your child may have a disability.
    What is the procedure if the student is going to be assessed?
    Once it is determined that assessments are necessary, an initial 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 a student is eligible, does that mean he or she will be in a special education class?
    No, before a student receives services, an Individual Education Program must be developed and discussed at an IEP Meeting. In order for an initial IEP to be implemented, the parent(s) must provide their written consent.  The goal for Lawrence Township Public Schools is to serve students in the Least Restrictive Environment, which is specific to each student.

    How is eligibility determined?
    When the evaluation is completed, eligibility is determined collaboratively at a meeting according to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.3(k).
    To be eligible for special education and related services:

      • A student must have a disability according to one of the eligibility categories according to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.5(c);
      • The disability must adversely affect the student’s educational performances; and
      • The student must be in need of Special Education and Related Services (specially designed instruction).
    • The school district must provide a copy of the evaluation report(s) and documentation to be used to make a determination of eligibility to the parent (or adult student, when applicable) not less than 10 days prior to the meeting.
      What is an Individualized Education Program?
      After your child is determined to be eligible for special education and related services, a meeting will be held to develop your child’s IEP. The IEP is a written plan that describes in detail your child’s special education program. The IEP should describe how your child currently performs and your child’s specific instructional needs. The IEP must include detailed and measurable annual goals and short-term objectives or benchmarks.
      Who must attend the IEP Meeting
      Except when a member of the IEP team has been excused from attending the meeting with parental consent in accordance with NJAC 6A:14 the following persons must attend IEP meetings:
      • Student, if appropriate;
      • Parent;
      • A general education teacher (to the extent appropriate), if the student is or will be participating in regular education;
      • A special education teacher (or special education provider where appropriate);
      • At least one child study team member;
      • Case manager;
      • School district representative;
      • Others at the discretion of the parent or school district; and
      • If transition will be discussed at the IEP, a representative of any other agency likely to provide or pay for services.
    • You have the right to:
      • Copies of your child’s IEP;
      • Bring others with you to the meeting;
      • Record IEP meetings if you inform the other persons orally or in writing, prior to the meeting stating that you intend to record the meeting;
      • Record IEP meetings if you inform the case manager in writing prior to the meeting stating that you intend to record the meeting;
      • Have the IEP implemented within 90 days of the school district’s receipt of your consent for the first evaluation;
      • Have the IEP implemented as soon as possible following the IEP meeting;
      • Have the IEP reviewed at least annually; and
      • Have extended school year services considered by the IEP team.