Requesting a Special Education Evaluation
How to Request a Special Education Evaluation
If your child is enrolled in the Cheatham County School System and you are concerned about his or her academic progress, first contact the regular classroom teacher. The teacher will listen to your concerns and review your child's records. Together, you may develop an intervention plan or behavioral strategies to help your child improve classroom performance. Classroom accommodations and adaptations will be attempted in an effort to overcome any academic difficulties.
Interventions Prior to Referral
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (reauthorization of IDEA 1997) mandated that states adopt additional requirements regarding eligibility determination. These requirements include a determination that the child's educational difficulties are not due to a lack of appropriate instruction in reading, including the essential components of reading instruction as defined by NCLB, lack of appropriate instruction in math, or Limited English proficiency. Appropriate instruction is now defined as instructional programs and techniques that have scientific research base and are delivered by appropriately trained personnel. The Cheatham County School District has adopted an organized, systematic early intervention approach to solving educational difficulties in the general education setting. A student is considered for special education eligibility when the student continues to demonstrate a clear educational need after the school has implemented high quality instruction and behavior management in the general education curriculum. Student may then be referred for a full comprehensive evaluation to see if the student meets state criteria to be identified as a student with a disability.
If an Evaluation is Recommended for your Child
An evaluation is recommended for your child if he or she has significant difficulty accessing appropriate educational services due to a possible disability, at which time you will be contacted to discuss the evaluation recommendation. You will be asked to complete referral paperwork (S-Team or Support Team paperwork) and sign a Consent for Evaluation form. A school psychologist, speech language pathologist or other certified school personnel may administer several different standardized tests or inventories, depending on the suspected disability of your child.
The Evaluation is Complete...now what?
The school will contact you to schedule a meeting. During this meeting, school personnel will discuss the test results and describe your child's academic strengths and educational needs. Your input is very important during this meeting. As a member of the team, you will have an opportunity to discuss your concerns about your child's academic and/or behavioral difficulties. Don't be afraid to ask questions about the evaluations or test results. Together, you and the school staff will consider all the options for your child and determine if special education and related services are required.
Special Education Services
If you and the school team decide that special education and related services are needed for your child, then an Individualized Education Program, also known as and IEP, will be developed. An IEP is a written plan outlining the special education and related services for a student with a disability. It describes your child's present levels of performance, strengths and weaknesses, and what you and the school will do to address his or her educational needs. Every child with a disability must have an IEP developed at least once a year. This plan will include specific annual goals that the team expects your child to be able to achieve. It also indicates the amount of special education services that your child will receive. Any related services needed for your child, such as speech-language therapy,occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision or deaf ed services will also be indicated on the IEP.
Services are also offered to students who attend private schools and/or who reside in Cheatham County and are home schooled. If the student qualifies and is eligible for speech and/or language services, then the parent can bring the child to the school to receive the therapy. For more information regarding homeschool services contact the Office of Special Education at (615) 746-1420.