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EVALUATIONS 

Child Find: Initial Evaluation for Special Education

Disability Suspected (DS) Form

Overview

When there may be a disability suspected and/or a parent requests an evaluation, the Area Education Agency (AEA) or the AEA in conjunction with the district reviews available information, including the results of any previous interventions, educational records, the information provided by individuals with knowledge of the child (e.g., the parents, teachers, caregivers, the child, etc.), observations of the child in learning environments, and any tests/assessments. Based on the review of information, the team completes the Disability Suspect form which documents the teams considerations. 

PROMPT Are there data to suggest that:

  • the child has a diagnosis of a condition that is specifically listed in IDEA’s disability categories or is clearly included within one of IDEA’s disability categories, and
  • the condition has a discernible effect on educational performance?

DOCUMENT: Check “Yes” if this applies to the child being considered. If yes, summarize the data used to conclude that the child meets this condition. Diagnoses from a mental or medical health professional will often meet the criteria for an IDEA condition but do not check “yes” on the basis of a diagnosed condition, alone. A diagnosed condition is suspected to be an IDEA disability only if it creates a discernible effect on educational performance.

PROMPT Are there data to suggest that: 

  • is not meeting standards; and
  • is unique when compared to peers?
DOCUMENT: Check “Yes” if this applies to the child being considered. If yes, summarize the data used to conclude that the child meets this condition.

PROMPT Are there data to suggest that: 

  • the child has received high-quality instruction (general instruction & evidence-based supplemental instruction), and
  • the child’s performance is not meeting standards and is not progressing towards meeting standards?
DOCUMENT: Check “Yes” if this applies to the child being considered. If yes, summarize the data used to conclude that the child meets this condition.

PROMPT Are there data to suggest that: 

  • the child has received high-quality instruction (general instruction & evidence-based supplemental instruction), and
  • is meeting standards or is progressing towards meeting standards; but
  • requires continued and substantial effort that may include the provision of special education and related services?
DOCUMENT: Check “Yes” if this applies to the child being considered. If yes, summarize the data used to conclude that the child meets this condition.

PROMPT Are there data to suggest that:
If a disability is not suspected: If the team has responded “No” to all items above, provide a rationale for the decision not to suspect (e.g., educational performance has changed recently; other, more plausible factors than disability account for the child’s performance; needs can be met through general education interventions, etc.)

DOCUMENT: Summarize why the facts and circumstances that have been considered support the conclusion that disability is not suspected.

PROMPT Participants involved in the decision:

DOCUMENT: The individuals involved and the degree of parental involvement (information source, meeting participant, etc.) depends on the circumstances. Participants in this decision-making are identified by the AEA or AEA in conjunction with the district.

PROMPT Date of Determination

DOCUMENT: The date on which the disability suspected process was carried out.

Key Terms

Diagnosis of an IDEA condition

Diagnosis of an IDEA condition. IDEA identifies categories of disability, not specific disabilities (autism; deaf-blindness; deafness; emotional disturbance; hearing impairment; intellectual disability; orthopedic impairment; other health impairment; specific learning disability; speech or language impairment; traumatic brain injury; visual impairment; including blindness). IDEA’s disability definitions are purposefully broad and potentially include a wide range of diagnoses from medical and mental health professionals.

Discernible effect

Discernible effect. Remember that the “bar” for establishing suspicion is low. “Discernible” means that the effects of the diagnosed condition are noticeable and may impede educational progress or performance, or may impede participation in or access to educational settings and opportunities

Not meeting standards

Not meeting standards. Consider any information that reflects whether or not the child’s performance is different from typical expectations for age and grade. Progress and status related to the expectations of the Iowa Core or other accepted standards and assessments allowing comparison to statewide or nationwide peers assists in this consideration.

Uniqueness of the child’s performance

Uniqueness of the child’s performance. Consider any information that reflects whether or not the child’s performance is different from peers in the school or community with similar developmental and educational experiences. The purpose of this information is to assist in determining if the concerns relate to the child (i.e., are indicative of disability) or the concerns are shared by a significant number of others with similar backgrounds and may be indicative of a problem with the general education system of supports and instruction. 

Provision of special education and related services

Provision of special education and related services. “Child find … must include … a child who is suspected of being a child with a disability and in need of special education, even though the child is advancing from grade to grade” and “if interventions are demonstrated to be effective but require continued and substantial effort that may include the provision of special education and related services, the agency shall then conduct a full and individual initial evaluation.” [281-41.111(3) & 281-41.312(3)] Therefore, it is possible that an individual’s performance is not different from standards or expectations, but that disability is suspected because of the nature or extent of the supports needed to maintain/improve the individual’s performance.

Education Evaluation Report (EER)

 

PROMPT Eligibility Meeting

DOCUMENT: The actual date the meeting is held to determine eligibility.

PROMPT Name & Other Demographic Information

DOCUMENT: It is imperative that the demographic information is complete and accurate. This includes the individual’s name, date of birth, resident and attending district information and parent information. 

PROMPT Individuals Contributing to this Evaluation

DOCUMENT: List all AEA and LEA staff who contributed to the completion of the full and individual initial evaluation.

PROMPT Contact Person for this Report

DOCUMENT: The designated AEA contact person/case manager for this evaluation is responsible for ensuring that information is gathered, the evaluation is completed, and that all documentation is submitted. This person serves as the contact if additional information or clarifications are needed. 

 

Individual Information