New Jersey Special Education Screening and Evaluation
Special Needs Education Lawyer in Bergen County, New Jersey
When you believe your child may have special needs or a disability that requires special education accommodations in New Jersey, the process for screening and evaluation can be overwhelming and perhaps you are unsure about what to do next. Rosa Elfant Rickett is a highly experienced New Jersey special education lawyer who regularly walks parents through every phase of the process to secure special education services for children with special needs. From screening and evaluation to Individualized Education Programs (IEP’s), school placement, and education mediation or litigation, Rosa is there every step of the way fighting to ensure that your child has access to the education they deserve. To discuss your child’s specific situation, learn more about the special education process in New Jersey, and find out how Rosa can help you and your family, contact our offices in Hackensack today at 201.968.5700 to schedule a consultation with a New Jersey special education lawyer.
Screening and Evaluation for Special Needs in New Jersey
Rosa discusses the process of screening and evaluation for children with special needs and disabilities in New Jersey on “Law Talk Today.”
Disabilities Eligible for Special Education Services
Under state and federal law, students with disabilities in any of the following categories are entitled to receive special education services:
- Deafness/hearing impairment
- Cognitively impaired/mental retardation
- Communication impaired/language disorder
- Emotionally disturbed/behavior disorder
- Multiply disabled (two or more equally disabling conditions)
- Orthopedically impaired, including malformation or malfunction of bones, muscle or tissue
- Other health impaired/chronically ill
- Preschool disabled (ages 3-5)
- Social maladjustment
- Specific learning disability
- Traumatic brain injury
- Visually impaired
If a parent believes his or her child has one (1) of these disabilities and needs special education services, the parent should send a WRITTEN REQUEST for evaluations to the Director of Special Education in the school district in which the family resides or the school district where the student attends school if the student is in out of home placement or homeless.
Screening after Request for Child Evaluation
The law requires that the school district take several steps in response to the parent’s written request for evaluation:
- Vision and audiometric (sight and hearing) screening of the student will be conducted by the school nurse.
- The school nurse will summarize the child’s available health information
- The student’s teacher will be consulted about the child’s academic progress and behavior.
- An initial meeting will be held within twenty (20) days of receiving the request to determine whether a formal evaluation is warranted and this meeting will include, the parent, the student’s classroom teacher, and a Child Study Team (CST), which consists of a school psychologist, a learning disabilities teacher consultant (LDTC), a school social worker and, in certain cases, a speech-language specialist. Additional specialists may be added as needed.
Child Study Teams and Formal Evaluations
During the first Child Study Team meeting, a determination is made to decide if a student may receive formal evaluations. The CST must provide a parent with a written notice if the request for evaluations is denied.
If/ when evaluations are agreed to, the Director of Special Education will assign one of the CST members to act as the case manager for the student. Next, a complete assessment of the student in every area of suspected disabilities will be undertaken. A parent must provide written consent to the evaluations and must receive a written notice confirming what evaluations will be conducted. The assessments include, but are not limited to the following components:
- At least two (2) assessments by members of the CST
- Other specialists (i.e. neurologist, audiologist, etc.) in the area of suspected disability
- The use of appropriate standardized tests
- An assessment of functional academic performance and behavior in which the appropriate member of the CST observes the student and describes the student’s performance and/or behavior
- If it’s believed that a student has a behavioral or emotional problem, a psychiatrist should also evaluate the student.
The school district has ninety (90) calendar days from the date of the parent’s WRITTEN consent to evaluate the student, determine whether the student is eligible for special education services and, if eligible, develop and implement an appropriate program.
Consult a Hackensack NJ Special Education Attorney about Your Child’s Case
The special education process is extremely complex in New Jersey, which is why having an experienced special education lawyer on your side can go a long way toward securing the outcome that is best for your child. For additional information about special education screening and evaluation in New Jersey, contact The Elfant Rickett Law Firm in Bergen County today at 201.968.5700. Our New Jersey special education team assists children and families in Monmouth County, Morris County, Essex County, and throughout the state.