A student should be referred for a special education assessment after appropriate interventions in the general education program have been considered and/or utilized, and proven to be unsuccessful. Every attempt should be made to meet the education needs of the student within the general education program. The Reauthorization of IDEA 2004 indicates that the IEP team may consider the student’s Response to Intervention (RTI) when suspecting Specific Learning Disabilities as the primary eligibility. The intent of the federal law is to emphasize that states and districts should develop researched based intervention programs that would be implemented in the general education setting by general education staff prior to a referral for special education evaluation. The IEP Team should keep in mind that the presence of a disability does not automatically result in a placement for special education services. The disability must adversely affect the student’s educational performance to the degree that the student requires special education services to make appropriate progress in the school setting. Any student, birth through 21, residing within SOC SELPA may be referred for a special education evaluation. If, however, a student who is 19 years or older is referred for assessment, please contact the appropriate district special education administrator for assistance in processing this request.
Students Enrolled In Private Schools
SOC SELPA districts have an educational responsibility to all students with disabilities residing in their district boundaries, including those students who are enrolled by their parents in private schools within the boundaries of the districts regardless of where the student resides. This is an important change required by IDEA 2004.
Parents/Guardians of preschool students who believe that their child may require special education services should contact the neighborhood school site or the district special education office. The referral will be routed to the appropriate staff per district procedures.
- The Parent Notification for Special Education Assessment – Initial/ Reassessment Planning Documentation Form (SOC 3) is sent to the parents/guardians as soon as possible to inform the parents that their child has been referred for an assessment. This form may be filled out by the SST with the parent present too.
- Within 15 days, the parent must be provided with an Individual Assessment Plan. The 15-day timeline does not include school breaks that exceed 5 school days, such as winter break; for these breaks, the 15-day timeline continues on the date that the regular school session resumes. If a referral is made within 10 days of the end of regular school year, the assessment plan must be provided to the parent within 10 days of the beginning of the next regular school year.
- The parents/guardians must give consent to the proposed assessment plan. The assessment timeline begins when the signed assessment plan is received by the district.
- The student must be assessed in all areas identified on the signed assessment plan. All assessors must complete a written report of finding
- An IEP meeting must be held within 60 days from the receipt of a signed assessment plan unless the parents/guardians agree to an extension in writing. The 60-day timeline does not include school breaks that exceed 5 school days, such as winter break, for these breaks, the 60-day timeline continues on the date that the regular school session resumes. If a referral is made within 20 days of the end of the regular school year, the IEP meeting must be held within 30 days of the beginning of the next regular school year.
- An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed, including identification on student’s unique needs, establishment of baseline or present levels of performance and draft Annual Goals and Objectives, when the student is determined to be eligible for, and requires, special education services.
- The parent must give informed written consent prior to the implementation of any components of the IEP.
- The IEP must be reviewed at least annually (within 365 days).
- The student must be reassessed to re-determine eligibility for Special Education, at least every three years.
Development of an Assessment Plan
The Individual Assessment Plan must be developed and given to the parent within 15 days of receipt of the completed Student Study Team Documentation Form (SOC 2) or parent written request. Copies of the Procedural Safeguards and the CAC Parent Handbook must accompany the Individual Assessment Plan. The assessment plan should be provided in the language that is easily understood by the general public, or provide the document in the primary language or other mode of communication of the parent, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. Both the SOC SELPA districts are responsible to provide the services of interpreters currently employed or under contract by the district to assist the parent in understanding our special education procedures.
Assessment plans must also be developed when:
- The student requires formal assessment
- Areas of suspected disability are not addressed in the current IEP;
- Additional assessment is requested by the parent and,
- The student is due for a triennial evaluation unless the IEP determines and the parent agrees.
The Individual Assessment Plan must include an explanation of the areas of the assessments to be completed, the personnel responsible for administering and interpreting the assessment results, and the need, if any, for any alternative assessment. Parents are encouraged to be active participants in the assessment process by providing the requested information to the assessment team regarding the suspected area(s) of disability and by reviewing the assessment plan. A student may not be assessed without written parent consent unless the district prevails in a due process hearing regarding assessment. No services or placement will result from an assessment without the written consent of the parent to the proposed IEP. Upon request and if it is feasible to do so, the parent will be provided with a copy of the assessment report(s) prior to the scheduled IEP meeting. There is no legal requirement to complete the reports and provide copies to parents in advance of the IEP meeting. Parents MUST be given copies of all assessments reports at the IEP meeting and agree that further testing in one or all of the areas is not appropriate.