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Accessing Special Education Services

Special education services are accessed through a process of Referral, Evaluation, and Eligibility.
Preschool Aged Children

Parents of children aged 3-5 should contact Dyer County Schools Special Education Department (731-285-6712). The special education department is responsible for Child Find that evaluate children between the ages of 3 and 5 to determine eligibility and the need for special educational services. Educational needs are determined through parent interview and child evaluation. Areas evaluated may include, but are not limited to: vision, hearing, speech and language, fine and gross motor, cognitive/pre-academic, social/emotional and adaptive development.

School Aged Children

The process of accessing services for school aged children begins with the child's school and teacher. If you believe your child may need special education services the first step is to contact the school to discuss your concerns with your child's teacher. Decisions involving special education are made on an individual basis according to the needs of each child. You can also contact the Dyer County Schools Special Education Department directly (731-285-6712) any time to be connected with someone who can assist with questions specific to your student.


Child Find

The Dyer County Schools Child Find program identifies children between the ages of three and twenty-one with special education needs including developmental delays, specific learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, speech/language impairments, other health impairments, blind, hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, visual impairments, physical impairments, autism, emotional disturbance, multiple disabilities, intellectually gifted, and traumatic brain injury. Educational needs are determined through parent interviews and child evaluations. Areas evaluated may include, but are not limited to, vision, hearing, speech and language, motor, cognitive and adaptive development.


Following the evaluation, if a child is determined to meet Tennessee State Eligibility Standards and be in need of special education services, an Individual Education Program (IEP) will be developed for the child and a free appropriate program offered to meet the child’s educational needs.


If you suspect that your child needs additional educational support to achieve his or her educational potential, the Dyer County School System strongly encourages you to contact us. The school system will provide a free screening and possible full evaluation of your child to determine any special needs and services for which your child might be eligible. The Dyer County School System adheres to all federal and state requirements as outlined in the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) or the State of Tennessee Special Education Eligibility Standards.


Referral

A parent, teacher, school counselor or others involved in a student’s education, who believe that a student may require services can make a referral to the Support Team (S-Team). Referral to the S-Team will not necessarily result in referral to special education. The school district is required to seek ways to meet the unique educational needs of all children within the general education program prior to referring a child to special education. The S-Team develops a plan of instructional interventions and accommodations to meet the student’s needs within the general program. The S-Team may determine that a student will be formally referred to determine eligibility for special education service.

Response to Instruction and Intervention (RTI2) is a tiered framework for teaching that is designed to help students who are struggling academically prior to referral for a special education evaluation. The RTI2 approach begins with the frequent progress monitoring of student growth through formal assessment. The school level RTI2 team then reviews progress monitoring data. Based upon student performance, theRTI2 team could recommend a Tier II or Tier III level intervention to address the specific academic need (reading, math, written expression). If the student does not make adequate progress with additional intervention, the school RTI2 team can then make a referral for a screening or evaluation for special education. Beginning July 1, 2014, RTI2 is the only allowable process to eligibility for the identification of a Specific Learning Disability in reading, math, and written expression.

Evaluation

When a student is formally referred, the IEP Team is formed and develops the evaluation plan and determines eligibility. Parental permission is required for all initial evaluations and placements. The school district has sixty (60) calendar days from the time permission is obtained to complete the evaluation and determine eligibility.

Appropriate school personnel will proceed after signed written consent is obtained from the parent to evaluate the current functioning level(s) of the child. The appropriate school personnel may include, but not be limited to, the following:

The parent will give input through parent information records, developmental background checklists, and/or complete forms for tests that may include parent information. The parent may also provide for review current reports or evaluations from private providers of the child if appropriate for the team to consider. The parent may also have pertinent medical documentation to share with the team for consideration.

School psychologist will perform evaluations concerning intellectual, emotional, academic, or social functioning.

Speech pathologist evaluates areas related to speech or language impairments.

Occupational therapists may evaluate for particular tasks necessary for participation or learning .

Physical therapists may evaluate gross motor skills.

English Language Learner (ELL) teachers may evaluate current levels of English language acquisition.

General education and special education teachers may assess or conduct observations and give input based on data.


Eligibility

The determination of eligibility for special education services is two-pronged. After the completion of the evaluation, the IEP team meets to determine whether the evaluation results indicate that the student has one or more disabilities and whether due to the disability the student requires special education services to make progress in the general education program. State and federal special education law set disability categories and criteria. Students must be reevaluated for eligibility every three years.

Programs and Services

Student placement and services are individualized to meet the unique needs of each student with a disability. The IEP Team develops an annual individualized education program (IEP) for each eligible student. The IEP includes a description of the student’s present level of performance, participation in and accommodations for the general education program, and special education and related services to be provided to the student.