Special Education Referral Process and Information

Who can be referred?

Preschool children and students ages three through twenty-one who live in the Clayton School District and are suspected of having developmental or learning difficulty.

How do I refer my child to the Child Study Team for evaluation?

What is a referral?

A referral is a written request for an evaluation that is given to the school district when a child is suspected of having a disability and might need special education services.

Who can make a referral?

  • Parents
  • School personnel
  • Agencies concerned with the welfare of students, including the New Jersey Department of Education
  • We cannot accept a doctors note as a referral

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. Address the letter to Mr. Gregory Esposito, Child Study Team Supervisor, along with a brief reason of why you would like to refer your child for evaluation.

Initial Referral, Evaluation and Eligibility Criteria

When a student is referred for an initial evaluation to determine eligibility for special education programs and services, an evaluation plan meeting is held within 20 days of the written request (The time frame excludes school holidays, but does not exclude summer vacation). Attendees include but are not limited to, the Child Study Team which includes the school psychologist, school social worker, learning disabilities teacher consultant, the parents, and the regular education teacher. This group shall determine whether evaluations are warranted and, if warranted, shall determine the nature and scope of the evaluations.

If it is determined that evaluations are necessary and parental consent is given, the evaluations, determination of eligibility for services, and if eligible, development and implementation of the IEP for the student shall be completed within 90 calendar days of date in which the district received parental permission to evaluate.

When an initial evaluation is completed, a meeting shall take place to determine whether the student is eligible for special education and related services. A copy of the evaluation reports and documentation and information that will be used for determination of eligibility shall be forwarded to the parents not less than 10 calendar days prior to the meeting. A student shall be determined eligible when it is determined that the student has one or more of the disabilities defined in N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.5(c), the disability adversely affects the student’s educational performance, and the student is in need of special education and related services.

There are 13 disabilities defined in N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.5(c). The characteristics of the disabilities and the assessments required to identify them are described in this section of the code. All relevant data compiled during the evaluation process determine if a child is eligible for special education and/or related services and that these services are necessary for the child to appropriately progress in his/her learning.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

After eligibility is determined, an IEP meeting shall take place to develop the IEP and shall be in effect before special education and related services are provided to the student. This meeting may be combined with the meeting to determine eligibility. Please refer to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.7 for specific IEP requirements. Initial implementation of the IEP cannot occur until consent is obtained.

A Child Study Team secretary will send a notification letter stating the meeting date, time, location, and participants mandated to attend. Make sure all the appropriate people have been invited and let your case manager know if you wish others to attend. Clayton generally begins inviting students at their 8th grade annual review or age 14. The meetings are scheduled based on the average amount of time required to complete the IEP process. IEP meetings can be reconvened if needed.

Parent participation is important to the development of a child’s IEP. In an effort to be an active and knowledgeable participant, parents should keep copies of report cards, progress notes and examples of your child’s work. Share information about your child and your child’s disability with your case manager. Latest health reports, tutor reports, articles about your child’s disability or new technology would be helpful.

You may check with your child’s teachers to see if any testing was recently completed that will be used in developing the IEP. Please realize that assessment practices include more than isolated skill tests. Determining a child’s present level of educational performance can include portfolio evaluation, functional assessment, rubrics and a variety of alternate assessments. If you plan to request a unique or different program with which the rest of the team may not be familiar, please provide your case manager with the information prior to the meeting. You may request evaluations and/or a copy of recommendations regarding components of the IEP in advance of the meeting, however, these may not be available prior to the meeting.

All decisions about the IEP will be made at the IEP meeting or at a reconvened IEP meeting if necessary. For other than initial implementation of special education, consent is not required and parents shall be provided with 15 days written notice before implementation of the IEP along with a copy of the procedural safeguards published by the New Jersey Department of Education.

Transition Planning

Transition planning is a coordinated set of activities for a student, that promotes movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, and/or community participation based on individual needs. Intensive transition planning begins when a student turns 14 years of age, although it is a lifelong process. Documentation of transition planning is located in a student’s IEP. This planning must include the student, parents, teachers, CST personnel, and guidance.

Guidance counselors can be especially helpful when planning post-secondary options for high school students. Parents are encouraged to contact their child’s guidance counselor to investigate options such as two-year programs, four-year programs, or vocational/technical schools. It would be helpful to learn about what post-secondary programs have been utilized by past Clayton special education students.

Resources for Transition to Adult Life

Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) in the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development:

DVRS provides the following types of service to personas with a physical or mental impairment which is a substantial impediment to employment. Interested persons must apply for a determination of eligibility and needed services. Individuals who are blind or have a serious visual impairment are served by the Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired, not DVRS.

Services that are provided may include:

  • Diagnostic Evaluation
  • Individual Vocational Counseling and Guidance
  • Job Seeking Skills Training and Selective Job Placement
  • Follow-up Support Services
  • Post-Employment Services
  • Physical Restoration Job Coaching, Vocational, Professional, or On-the-job Training
  • Referrals to Centers for Independent Living for independent living skills training (www.njsilc.org/ist.html)

Contact information:
PO Box 398 135
East State Street Trenton, NJ 08625
phone: (609) 292-5987
fax: (609) 292-8347

Local DVRS: Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services Center
215 Crown Pt. Rd., Suite 200
Thorofare NJ 08086