What is “Child Find”?

Baby Reading500The Individuals with Disabilities Act, (IDEA Part C and Part B) provides for the early identification and interventions for children ages birth to twenty-one years of age. This means your school district is required to locate, evaluate and identify all children that may have a disability and need special education or related services. Your school district has developed a systematic means to do this and are ready to provide pre-referral interventions that may or may not lead to a referral, comprehensive educational evaluation and possibly eligibility for special education and/or related services through an Individualized Education Plan, IEP.  In partnership with early interventionists, Head Start, Family Outreach, Region IV Hearing Conservation program, community services and the Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative, your school district meets the requirements of the IDEA for Child Find. There are multiple activities within your district that are all considered Child Find.

FREE Developmental Screenings:

You may be most familiar with “Developmental Screenings” that are free events that are advertised and held at your school district. Developmental screenings are used by doctors, early interventionists as well as school district educators and specialists to determine whether a child is reaching developmental markers or if there are potential delays in development.

Skills such as taking first steps, saying those first words and learning early concepts are referred to as “milestones.”  The range of “average” developmental attainment of these milestones for young children can be broad.  However, if a child does not reach these markers within the upper limits of the range, it may be considered a delay.  For example, if the typical range for learning to walk is 9-15 months, and a child is not walking by 20 months this would be considered a delay.

During a developmental screening event the following milestones will be screened for children birth to 5 years of age. Family Outreach conducts the screening for children birth to 2 years of age and parents participate in the entire screening process. Your school district staff implement the screening for children 3-5 years of age and use a tool called the “Developmental Indicators for the Assessment of Learning-Revised, (DIAL-R). Children are asked to separate from their parent(s) and engage in game-format activities that are set up in small centers. The entire screening takes about 45-minutes for most children. Specialists such as an early education teacher, special educator, speech-language pathologist and school psychologists implement the screening. Each parent receives a summary of the screening results with recommendations and resources to support them in raising a healthy and happy child.  Should there be the need for more information a follow-up appointment will be scheduled with Family Outreach or your school district team.  During the day of the screening, the specialists are also available to answer any question and visit with you directly about screening outcomes.  Areas of screening include:

    •    Gross motor: using large groups of muscles to perform physical activities,

          such as skipping, jumping and throwing.

    •    Fine motor: using hands and fingers to be perform activities such as drawing and writing.

    •    Hearing: Screening through audiometry, tympanogram, with potential

          medical referral or follow up with the Hearing Conservation Region IV audiologist.

    •    Language/Communication: speech sound development or articulation,

          vocabulary understanding and use, language reasoning and early phonic skills.

    •    Developmental Concepts: Understanding terms such as more/less;

          sorting and categorizing, colors and other pre-academic knowledge.

    •    Social: Following directions and engaging with others

Transition from the IDEA Part C Early Intervention Program:

dragon500Family Outreach is your school district’s partner in developmental screenings and the IDEA Part C service provider. The IDEA requires a smooth transition for young children who receive these services from Part C to the school district or Part B provider. Family Outreach notifies the district of potentially eligible children, completes transition planning, and initiates the invitation to the district for a transition conference as well as participates in the transition meeting. A referral is generated from the part C provider and an evaluation to consider eligibility for Part B, special education services through the public school, is typically completed. Parents are involved the entire way and together with Family Outreach and their public school make decisions with the best interest of the child in mind.

School-Based Pre-Referral Activities:

conference500School-based pre-referral activities for school-age students go by many names within each district: “schoolwide assistance team, teacher assistance team, Response to Intervention (RtI), Multiple Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS)”.

Pre-referral is a series of academic and/or behavioral interventions used with students struggling in school. These interventions are examined as to their effectiveness and form the basis of additional actions up to and possibly including an evaluation for special education and related services. Pre-referral interventions do NOT delay a referral for comprehensive educational evaluation to consider eligibility for special education and related services but is instead a required general education process which informs decision making. Data is gathered prior to and during the implementation of targeted interventions to make data-driven decisions about the response to the intervention and ultimately if a referral for a comprehensive educational evaluation, special education and related services are needed.

Child Find:

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. Infants and toddlers (birth-2) and their families can receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C if eligible. Children and youth (ages 3-21) can receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B if eligible. The IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide Child Find, early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. Child Find occurs through developmental screening activities, transition from the IDEA Part C to Part B services and school-based pre-referral activities.

The Gallatin-Madison Special Education Cooperative and its member school districts are committed to the requirements of the IDEA for Child Find through locating, evaluating and determining if children are eligible for special education and related services. Although this is what is required of public schools, this as an opportunity to build relationships with our communities, promote awareness of early intervention resources and work closely parents and school teams to support our shared core beliefs.   We believe that ALL students can learn when instruction is geared to their strengths and they are given sufficient opportunity to learn. The process of child find aids each school in ensuring we continue to consider the unique learning style and ability of each child.

“Going the Extra Mile” to serve school districts: Amsterdam, Anderson, Big Sky, Cottonwood, Ennis, Gallatin-Gateway, Harrison, LaMotte, Malmborg, Monforton, Pass Creek, Springhill, West Yellowstone, Willow Creek