Evaluation and Eligibility

Initial Identification/Evaluation Planning Meeting

If the decision is made at the identification/evaluation planning meeting that an evaluation is warranted, and once parental consent is obtained, individual evaluations of the student commence.  The comprehensive diagnostic evaluations are provided at no cost to the parent and are completed in the student’s native language.  They must be completed by certified professionals who are able to explain the results of their testing. 

Eligibility for Special Education and Related Services

 An evaluation for eligibility for special education and related services must include assessments by at least two members of the CST.  For a preschool-age child who requires a speech/language assessment, this assessment may be utilized as one of the two required assessments.  If autism or communication impairment is the area of suspected disability, a speech-language assessment is required as well as at least two other assessments by the CST.  Additionally, a hearing and vision screening by the school nurse is necessary.  Other areas from which information may be gathered include a specialized medical evaluation, a speech/language evaluation, an occupational/physical therapy evaluation, and/or an audiological evaluation. These evaluations are conducted by service providers contracted by the school district.

Eligibility for Speech and Language Services

Evaluations of eligibility for speech/language services must include an assessment of voice, fluency, and articulation.  A hearing and vision screening by the school nurse is also required.

Evaluation Procedures

Evaluations recommended by the school district to determine eligibility for special education services or speech/language services are deemed to be in the student’s best interest; however, parents/guardians have the right to refuse or withdraw consent at any time. Evaluations cannot be conducted without parent consent. If the school district disagrees with this action, it may initiate a due-process hearing. 

Upon completion of the evaluations, the professional staff provide the parent with a written report of the details of the testing results at least 10 calendar days prior to the eligibility meeting.  The evaluations will help determine if the student has an educational disability and whether special education and related services or speech/language services are appropriate.

The discussion of the evaluations and the determination regarding eligibility for special education and related services or speech/language services takes place at the eligibility meeting.

When parents/guardians obtain private evaluations at their own expense they may wish to share this information with school personnel. The evaluations will be considered by the Child Study Team when determining eligibility and, if appropriate, in planning the student’s program.

 

Eligibility Meeting

Upon completion of the evaluations, an eligibility meeting is scheduled to determine whether the student is eligible for special education and related services or speech/language services.  Meeting attendees will be asked to sign an attendance sheet.  The case manager or evaluator will review evaluation results and answer any questions.  The case manager will discuss the rationale for determination of eligibility or non-eligibility.  Parents will receive written notice of the results of this meeting.  Should there be disagreement, parents/guardians should contact the Director of Student Services, Micki Crisafulli. Parent will also be provided with a copy of the Parental Rights in Special Education that is published by the New Jersey Department of Education.  

Participants in meetings to determine eligibility for special education and related services include: the student (if appropriate), parents/guardians, one or more general education teacher, and the case manager.  CST members, including those who completed an evaluation, and other school district personnel may also be invited. Additionally, parents/guardians may bring a friend or other person to support them. The Child Study Team must be notified of additional attendees at the meeting. 

Participants in meetings to determine eligibility for speech/language services include: the student (if appropriate), parents/guardians, one or more general education teacher, and the speech/language specialist.

 

Recommendations

Eligibility for Special Education and Related Services

In developing recommendations, the CST, parents/guardians, and any others present will discuss the evaluations and any other pertinent information regarding the student.  The first determination is whether the student possesses an educational disability that adversely affects educational performance and requires special education and related services.  There are 14 categories for special education eligibility: 

  1.  Auditorily impaired
  2.  Autistic
  3.  Cognitively impaired
  4.  Communication impaired
  5.  Emotionally disturbed
  6.  Multiply disabled
  7.  Orthopedically impaired
  8.  Other health impaired
  9.  Preschool with a disability
  10.  Social maladjustment
  11.  Specific learning disability
  12.  Traumatic brain injury
  13.  Visually impaired
  14.  Deaf/blindness

For a complete definition of each of these categories, please see the Department of Education

If the CST determines that the student exhibits an educational disability, a determination must be made as to the least restrictive educational setting (i.e., the setting closest to the general education environment) in which the student can receive educational benefit from special education services.  Placements range in levels of restriction, including class size, student-teacher ratio, and degree of inclusion.  The progression of services, from least to most restrictive, is: 

  1. General Education with Supplementary Aids/Services
  2. In-Class Resource Support
  3. Resource Replacement
  4. Special Class – In District
  5. Out of District Placement
  6. Temporary Home Instruction

Eligibility for Speech/Language Services 

In developing recommendations, the speech/language specialist, parent(s)/guardian(s), and any others present will discuss the evaluations and any other pertinent information regarding the student.  Eligibility requires a disorder of articulation/phonology, voice, or fluency that adversely affects educational performance and requires speech/language services.