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The Referral Process  

The Referral Process

When parents and/or teachers have concerns regarding a student’s academic performance or social and emotional well-being, the student is referred to the Committee of Special Education (CSE) at his/her school. The evaluation team may consist of the following, depending on the student’s school:

1. Director of Special Education (Chair)

2. School Psychologist (Subcommittee Chair)

3. Special Education Teacher/Learning Specialist

4. Speech/Language Therapist

5. School Nurse

6. Reading Specialist

7. School Administrator

8. General Education Teacher

All information shared at CSE meetings is kept confidential among the team members and school staff members who have an invested interest in the student's educational progress. The members of the CSE discuss the concerns of the parents and/or teacher(s), as well as the previous attempts that have been made to help support the student (i.e., Instructional Support Team strategies). The CSE may brainstorm further ideas and strategies that may benefit the student. The CSE may also decide that an evaluation should be conducted to determine the student’s educational strengths and needs. Prior to this evaluation, parents are informed of the decision and parental consent sought.

Possible Evaluations:

Administered By:

Psychological Evaluation

School Psychologist

Academic Evaluation

Special Education Teacher/Learning Specialist

Reading/Math Specialist

Speech/Language Evaluation

Speech/Language Therapist

Occupational Therapy Evaluation

Occupational Therapist

Physical Therapy Evaluation

Physical Therapist

Social History Form

School Nurse



The Psychological Evaluation

The School Psychologist conducts the psychological evaluation or reviews evaluations which may have taken place outside of school. The psychological evaluation typically includes the following:

1. Measure of general cognitive abilities

2. Measure of visual-motor integration skills

3. Measure of social-emotional functioning

4. Individual student interview

5. Teacher interview

6. Parent interview

7. Review of educational records

8. Classroom observation

The measures and evaluation procedures employed with a student depend upon the specific concerns to be addressed. The purpose of the evaluation is to gather information related to the student's learning style, learning needs, self-perceptions, and emotional well-being. The School Psychologist determines which measures may be the most beneficial in understanding a student's psychological functioning. When used in conjunction with data from other evaluations, the psychological evaluation helps determine the student’s educational strengths and needs.

During the evaluation, the School Psychologist meets with the student individually for one or more sessions in a quiet environment, usually the School Psychologist’s office. Generally, students consider the psychological evaluation to be somewhat enjoyable. Younger children may view the evaluation as "playing games."

Following the evaluation, the School Psychologist typically meets with the CSE and parents to share results. A written report of results is generated in order to describe how the student’s unique characteristics affect his/her school performance. Psychological reports also provide recommendations to assist students with the issues that preceded the evaluation. All information in psychological reports is confidential and shared only with individuals who have authorized access.


Following the Psychological Evaluation

Following all recommended evaluations, the members of the CSE reconvene to share their findings. Once again, the CSE discusses possible ideas and strategies to benefit the student’s educational functioning based upon the results of the evaluations.

1. Parents of the Student

2. Special Education Chairperson

3. Student Services Teacher

4. School Psychologist

5. Speech/Language Therapist

6. Special Education Teacher

7. General Education Teacher

8. Physician (upon request)

9. Parent Member

10. Student (if appropriate)

11. Any other people who have knowledge or special expertise

regarding the student

At the CSE meeting, the Committee reviews the evaluation results. Based on that information, and the information that parents provide, the Committee decides if the student is eligible or ineligible to receive special education services.

In order to be eligible, a student must have a disability that affects his or her ability to learn. Education law defines specific factors that make students eligible to receive special education supports and services. Students, ages 5 - 21, who are identified as having a disability, may have autism, deafness, deaf-blindness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, learning disability, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury or visual impairment (including blindness). These terms are defined in section 200.1 (zz) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.


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