Child Study Team
The Audubon Child Study Team consists of School Psychologists, Learning Consultants, and School Social Workers. The Speech/Language Specialist and School Nurse also work in conjunction with the basic Child Study Team. The team has a number of responsibilities including consultation, identification, diagnosis, classification and formulation of recommendations for remediation of learning and behavior problems. Team members also serve as Case Managers for students receiving special education and related services and work closely with both special education and regular education teachers to develop students’ Individual Education Programs (I.E.P.) The Audubon Child Study team provides services for students with disabilities from ages three to twenty-one in preschool, elementary and junior-senior high school programs.
The Child Study Team works collaboratively with the building-level problem-solving team known as the Intervention and Referral Services Committee (I&RS). A child experiencing learning or behavioral difficulties in school is brought to the attention of the I&RS through the Principal. The I&RS referral process is typically a necessary prerequisite to a referral to the Child Study Team. When I&RS meetings are scheduled, a Child Study Team member attends these meetings in order to work collaboratively with other school personnel to develop strategies which will assist students with various modifications, services, and resources.
If the I&RS agrees that a child should be referred to the Child Study Team to consider whether the child will be evaluated. This request is communicated to the Child Study Team by the Principal. The Child Study Team then must follow the statutory procedures stipulated in NJAC 6A:14. This includes providing notice (a letter) to the parent/guardian of this request for consideration for evaluation. Parents/guardians are invited to a meeting with the Child Study Team and the referring teacher in order to discuss what information is needed to determine if the child is in need of special education and/or related services. At this referral meeting, a plan is developed to outline which, if any, of the Child Study Team evaluations are needed to determine a child’s eligibility for special education and/or related services.
Child Study Team evaluations may include assessments by the School Psychologist, Learning Consultant, School Social Worker, Speech/Language Specialist and other professionals. Specifically, the School Psychologist assesses a child’s intellectual abilities, level of adaptive behavior, and helps to explain behavioral development. The Learning Consultant evaluates a child’s strengths and weaknesses related to his/her academic levels and learning characteristics. The School Social Worker interviews the parent to determine how the child’s home environment relates to the school situation and acts as liaison between the home, school and community agencies. A Speech/Language Specialist assesses the child’s speech and language development. The findings of the team members, including copies of reports, are shared with the parent/guardian and appropriate school personnel at a conference.
If the Child Study Team recommends classification and the parent/guardian agrees, there are several types of special education services available within the district. The two elementary schools and the junior-senior high school each house Resource Centers which provide special education services for classified students through pull-out and in-class support instruction. Remediation of specific learning problems in reading, language, spelling, mathematics and behavior is the primary objective. Special Education services are outlined in a student’s IEP and are provided within the least restrictive environment. In addition, various self-contained classes receive concentrated, individualized and small group instruction in academic areas. Mainstreaming into regular classes is recommended as appropriate and outlined in the student’s IEP. If the student’s needs cannot be met within one of these programs, then a more specialized educational placement is sought in another public school district or in a private school outside of Audubon.