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Referral for a Child Suspected of a Disability 
LCPS maintains an active and continuing Child Find program designed to locate, identify, and evaluate children ages 2 through 21 who live in Loudoun County and are in need of special education and related services.  This child find requirement includes parents who enroll their child in a private elementary or secondary school within Loudoun County regardless of the parents' location of residence. 
Screening is part of the identification process.  Screenings must be done in the areas of vision, hearing, scoliosis, speech, voice, language, and fine and gross motor functions.  Parents will receive a general notice about the screening and will be notified if a child fails the screening.  Children may be rescreened if the results of the original screening are considered invalid.  The LCPS screening schedule is as follows:
  • Vision and hearing 
    • of all children within 60 business days of initial enrollment
    • in grades 3, 7, and 10 within 60 business days of the opening of school
  • Scoliosis educational information in grades 5 through 10 within 60 business days of the opening of school
  • Speech, voice, language, and fine and gross motor functions of all children within 60 business days of initial enrollment 
The purpose of these screenings is to determine if a referral for an evaluation for special education and related services is indicated.  In some cases when a child fails a screening, the school may not suspect a disability.
The screening of a student by a teacher or specialist to determine appropriate instructional strategies for curriculum implementation is NOT considered an evaluation for eligibility for special education and related services and does not require parental consent. 

A Child Study Team (CST) is established in each school to review records and other performance evidence of children being referred in order to make recommendations to meet the child's educational and behavioral needs. Children may be referred to the CST through a screening process or by school staff, parent(s), or other individuals.  The referral may be in written, electronic, or oral form to the principal or designee of the school the child attends.
Members of the Child Study Team
Within 10 business days following receipt of the initial referral, the Child Study Team must meet.  Parents are invited to attend the meeting after the principal or designee receives the referral.  The team includes the following individuals:
  • The referral source, as appropriate
  • Principal or trained administrative designee
  • At least one teacher of the child
  • At least one specialist (e.g., educational diagnostician, school psychologist)
  • Parent (if able to attend)
  • Other individuals with specialized training or specific knowledge as appropriate (e.g., school counselor, speech language therapist, reading specialist, school social worker, occupational therapist, teachers of the visually impaired, teachers of the hearing impaired)

The Child Study Process
In reviewing the child's performance, the Child Study Team may use a process based on a child’s response to scientific, research-based interventions or procedures.  The team will ensure that these interventions are documented and that the use of these interventions do not unnecessarily delay a child’s evaluation for special education. 
The following outlines the typical process during a Child Study Team meeting:
  • The team identifies and analyzes problems that are affecting the child's school performance by reviewing existing information and by collecting additional screening data if needed
  • A plan is developed and implemented to reasonably meet the needs of the child that outlines the interventions/accommodations, goals, and method of data collection 
  • The team periodically reconvenes to review the child's progress and modify the plan as needed
  • If the team determines that the plan is not meeting the needs of the child and the team suspects a disability, a referral for evaluation to determine a child's eligibility for special education and related services must be made
Referral for Initial Evaluation
Referrals for evaluation may be made by any source including school staff, a parent(s), the Virginia Department of Education, any other state agency, other individuals, or a school-based team, such as the Child Study team.  All referrals for evaulation for a child suspected of having a disability must be forwarded to special education director or designee.  If the referral for evaluation is made from a source other than the Child Study team, the special education director or designee, the special education director or designee shall with 3 business days:
  • initiate the evaluation eligibility process,
  • deny the request and provide prior written notice, or
  • refer the child to the Child Study team to review and respond to the request.  If the special education director or designee refers the matter to the Child Study team and the Child Study team refers for evaluation, the 65 business day timeline began when the special education director or designee received the initial request.
When the referral for evaluation is made to the principal or designee, such as the assistant principal, the Child Study team must meet within 10 business days from receipt of the referral to determine whether an evaluation is necessary.  If the team suspects a disability and decides an evaluation is warranted, the team shall forward the referral to the special education director or designee within 3 business days.  In this situation, the 65 business day time line would begin when the special education administrator receives the referral for evaluation from the Child Study team.   

Last Modified on November 2, 2011