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Child Find is legally required, and is an important first step to finding children with disabilities and getting them the support and services they require to be successful in school. The full and individual initial evaluation (FIIE) is a critical component when determining the eligibility and needs of the child. The role of the ARD committee is to develop the IEP to enable a child with a disability to achieve the prescribed goals resulting in positive outcomes.

Region 17 Child Find, Evaluation and ARD Supports SMORE

What is Child Find?
Child Find is a component of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) 2004 that requires States and Local Education Agencies (school districts and charter schools) to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities residing in the State, regardless of the severity of their disabilities, and who are in need of special education and related services (34 CFR§ 300.111). Child Find is a continuous process of public awareness activities, screening and evaluation designed to locate, identify, and evaluate children with disabilities who are in need of Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Programs (Part C) or Special Education and Related Services (Part B).

What does “child with a disability” mean?
The term "child with a disability" means a child with mental retardation, hearing impairments (including deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance (referred to as "emotional disturbance"), orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities; and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services (34 CFR§ 300.8).

What do I do if I know of an infant, child, or adolescent who does not learn easily? 
All individuals develop at their own pace but some have more difficulty than others. Early identification and intervention can prevent failure and frustration. Special attention to teaching and learning strategies may help individuals overcome barriers to learning. Often these strategies can be provided through general education programs. The Child Find Framework of the Legal Framework for the Child Centered Process (www.esc18.net ) provides additional information and outlines mandates.
Under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), 2001, each LEA must have a district improvement plan developed to guide district and campus staff in the improvement of student performance for all student groups in order to attain state standards. The district improvement plan must include strategies for improvement of student performance such as: instructional methods designed based on the needs of student groups not achieving; processes for addressing the needs of children in special programs; integration of technology in instructional and administrative programs; positive behavior supports; staff development for educators; and accelerated instruction.

What happens if the student continues to struggle even with these general education supports?
The parent(s) or legal guardian will be contacted by the local school district. The child may be referred for a full individual evaluation (FIE) to help determine eligibility for special education and related services. Parents/guardians and the school will decide if an evaluation is needed. The same group may develop an evaluation plan designed to assess areas of concern. If appropriate, an evaluation will be conducted by qualified school district/agency personnel. The parents and evaluation personnel will have a meeting to talk about evaluation results and eligibility for special education and related services.

Who can begin the Child Find process?
Anyone can start the process: a parent/guardian, doctor, teacher, relative or friend can call their local school district Child Find. If you are concerned about a child’s learning, contact your local school campus, district, or charter school.

What services may be available through special education?
Each child’s individual need(s) will be addressed on an individualized basis by a team consisting of: public agency representative, parent(s) or guardian, a person who can interpret evaluation, teacher(s), and the student (if appropriate). The team will review evaluation information, discuss eligibility, identify area(s) of need for specialized instruction, including related services (such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, or counseling) and develop a plan to fit the needs of the child.

How much do services cost?
All services provided by Local Education Agencies (school districts and charter schools) through IDEA 2004 (Part B) Special Education and Related Services (Part B) are at no cost to the individual or parents.

Who do I contact?
If you are concerned about a child’s learning, contact your local school campus, district, or charter school. If you need help contacting your local school campus, district, or charter school, contact your Education Service Center (ESC).

Evaluation Process
Region 17ESC Special Education staff provides professional development and technical assistance to local education agencies (school districts and charter schools) to assist in meeting federal, state, and local mandates for evaluation, reevaluation, monitoring progress toward IEP goals, and in determining effectiveness of the education program. Region 17 ESC staff provides collaborative opportunities for evaluation personnel to network to review current topics, share innovative practices, make connections to community resources, and share information with colleagues.
 
Available Services:
  • Provide technical assistance regarding individual student evaluations including eligibility, vocational, learning styles, psychological, speech & language, neurodevelopmental, behavioral, assistive technology, orientation and mobility, and clinical low vision evaluations.   
  • Provide consultation to evaluation personnel regarding student assessments upon request.
  • Conduct staff development for assessment personnel.
  • Loan assessment instruments to qualified individuals in local schools.

Evaluation Procedures
The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) regulations provide local education agencies (LEAs) with guidelines for conducting evaluations. The LEA must:

  • Provide notice to the parents of a child with a disability (or suspected disability) that describes any evaluation procedures the agency proposes to conduct;
  • Use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information about the child, including information provided by the parent;
  • Not use any single measure or assessment as the sole criterion for determining whether a child has a disability and for determining an appropriate educational program for the child; and
  • Use technically sound instruments that may assess the relative contribution of cognitive and behavioral factors, in addition to physical or developmental factors.

These tools and strategies may assist in determining:

  • Whether the child is a child with a disability according to federal guidelines; and
  • The content of the child’s individualized education program (IEP), including information related to enabling the child to be involved in and progress in the general education curriculum (or appropriate activities, for preschool-age children).

To ensure LEAs are conducting appropriate evaluations, the IDEA regulations note several assurances that LEAs must follow, including:

  • Making sure evaluation materials are not discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis;
  • They are provided and administered in the child’s native language or other mode of communication; and
    Are tailored to assess specific areas of educational need. 

34 CFR, §300.304 Evaluation procedures

a. Notice. The public agency must provide notice to the parents of a child with a disability, in accordance with §300.503, that describes any evaluation procedures the agency proposes to conduct.

b. Conduct of evaluation. In conducting the evaluation, the public agency must:

  • Use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information about the child, including information provided by the parent, that may assist in determining—
    • Whether the child is a child with a disability under §300.8; and
    • The content of the child's IEP, including information related to enabling the child to be involved in and progress in the general education curriculum (or for a preschool child, to participate in appropriate activities);
  • Not use any single measure or assessment as the sole criterion for determining whether a child is a child with a disability and for determining an appropriate educational program for the child; and
  • Use technically sound instruments that may assess the relative contribution of cognitive and behavioral factors, in addition to physical or developmental factors.

c. Other evaluation procedures. Each public agency must ensure that—

  • Assessments and other evaluation materials used to assess a child under this part—
    • Are selected and administered so as not to be discriminatory on a racial or cultural basis;
    • Are provided and administered in the child's native language or other mode of communication and in the form most likely to yield accurate information on what the child knows and can do academically, developmentally, and functionally, unless it is clearly not feasible to so provide or administer;
    • Are used for the purposes for which the assessments or measures are valid and reliable;
    • Are administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel; and
    • Are administered in accordance with any instructions provided by the producer of the assessments.
  • Assessments and other evaluation materials include those tailored to assess specific areas of educational need and not merely those that are designed to provide a single general intelligence quotient.
  • Assessments are selected and administered so as best to ensure that if an assessment is administered to a child with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills, the assessment results accurately reflect the child's aptitude or achievement level or whatever other factors the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting the child's impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (unless those skills are the factors that the test purports to measure).
  • The child is assessed in all areas related to the suspected disability, including, if appropriate, health, vision, hearing, social and emotional status, general intelligence, academic performance, communicative status, and motor abilities;
    Assessments of children with disabilities who transfer from one public agency to another public agency in the same school year are coordinated with those children's prior and subsequent schools, as necessary and as expeditiously as possible, consistent with §300.301(d)(2) and (e), to ensure prompt completion of full evaluations.
  • In evaluating each child with a disability under §§300.304 through 300.306, the evaluation is sufficiently comprehensive to identify all the child's special education and related services needs, whether commonly linked to the disability category in which the child has been classified.
  • Assessment tools and strategies that provide relevant information that directly assists persons in determining the educational needs of the child are provided.
 

34 CFR, §300.503 Prior notice by the public agency; content of notice

a. Notice. Written notice that meets the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section must be given to the parents of a child with a disability a reasonable time before the public agency—

  1. Proposes to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child or the provision of FAPE to the child; or
  2. Refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of the child or the provision of FAPE to the child.

b. Content of notice. The notice required under paragraph (a) of this section must include—

  1. A description of the action proposed or refused by the agency;
  2. An explanation of why the agency proposes or refuses to take the action;
  3. A description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the agency used as a basis for the proposed or refused action;
  4. A statement that the parents of a child with a disability have protection under the procedural safeguards of this part and, if this notice is not an initial referral for evaluation, the means by which a copy of a description of the procedural safeguards can be obtained;
  5. Sources for parents to contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of this part;
  6. A description of other options that the IEP Team considered and the reasons why those options were rejected; and
  7. A description of other factors that are relevant to the agency's proposal or refusal.

c. Notice in understandable language.

  1. The notice required under paragraph (a) of this section must be—
    1. Written in language understandable to the public; and
    2. Provided in the native language of the parent or other mode of communication used by the parent, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.
  1. If the native language or other mode of communication of the parent is not a written language, the public agency must take steps to ensure—
    1. That the notice is translated orally or by other means to the parent in his or her native language or other mode of communication;
    2. That the parent understands the content of the notice; and
    3. That there is written evidence that the requirements in paragraphs (c)(2)(i) and (ii) of this section have been met.

Additional Resources

Facilitated Individualized Education Program (FIEP)

Facilitation of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting is a method of resolution that involves the use of a trained facilitator to assist an Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee in developing an IEP for a student with a disability. The use of facilitated IEP meetings is an increasing statewide trend and can be an essential part of assisting the ARD committee in reaching agreements that lead to educational programs with beneficial outcomes for students with disabilities. The facilitator uses techniques to help all committee members communicate and collaborate effectively. The Texas Education Agency encourages the use of IEP facilitation as an alternate means of dispute resolution.

A facilitator supports collaboration and communication, by assisting the ARD committee with the following:

  • Establishing an agenda and setting a time frame for the meeting.
  • Designing a set of guidelines for the meeting.
  • Guiding the group discussion to remain focused on the development of a mutually-agreed-upon IEP.
  • Ensuring that each ARD committee member has an opportunity to participate.
  • Resolving disagreements as they are encountered.
  • Keeping the ARD committee focused on the tasks to be accomplished.

 

Link to additional information: https://www4.esc13.net/fiep/fiep-a-facilitated-iep-meeting/

 

Additional Resources

SPP Indicator 7

  • Early Childhood Outcomes 
    Since the Fall of 2007, all school districts in the state of Texas must complete a Child Outcomes Summary Form (COSF) for every preschool child (age 3-5 yr) who qualifies for special education services. This is in accordance with State Performance Plan Indicator #7 (also known as Early Childhood Outcomes). School district staff must be trained to complete the COSF, which assigns a rating of 1-7 for each child compared to typically developing peers in three outcome areas. This data will be submitted to the Texas Education through an online data collection system (TEASE).

  • School districts/charters are encouraged to train appropriate staff (PPCD teachers, speech therapists and any other special education personnel) in order to be prepared to submit entry and exit data to the Texas Education Agency. ESC-20 offers online as well as face to face Early Childhood Outcomes training. Please check Connect20 course offerings annually for on-site professional development sessions. Technical Assistance in completing SPP 7 requirements is also available to local education agencies.

SPP Indicator 11

  • SPP Indicator 11 is related to Child Find and measures the “percent of children with parental consent to evaluate who were evaluated and eligibility determined within 60 days (or State established timelines).” This is a compliance indicator, and data is collected and reported by the district/charter to Texas Education Agency (TEA) through the TEA Login (TEAL) System.
  • Child Find materials are available to assist districts in locating children in their attendance areas who may be suspected of having a disability requiring special education services.

SPP Indicator 12

  • SPP Indicator 12 is related to Early Childhood Transition and measures the “percent of children referred by Part C prior to age 3, who are found eligible for Part B, and who have an individual education program (IEP) developed and implemented by their third birthdays.” This is a compliance indicator, and data is collected and reported by the district/charter to TEA through the TEA Login (TEAL) System.
ESC Contacts:
Elizabeth Archer picture
Elizabeth Archer
Education Specialist
earcher@esc17.net
806-281-5876
 

 

Alma Reinhart picture
Alma Reinhart
Support Staff
areinhart@esc17.net
806-281-5701