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Home > Academics > Special Education > Identification, Assessment and Evaluation

Identification, Assessment and Evaluation

Identification is the process used to decide if a child may have a disability and, therefore, need assessments. If the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team decides that a child may have a disability and be in need of special education, the team recommends assessments to determine eligibility and identify the child's educational needs.

Children from Birth through Age 2

The Howard County Infants and Toddlers Program is a countywide system of coordinated, interagency, multidisciplinary early intervention services. The Howard County Public School System, Howard County Health Department, and the Howard County Department of Social Services provide services to eligible infants, toddlers, and their families.

Parents or other individuals who are concerned about a child's development may make a referral. A service coordinator from one of the participating agencies will then contact the family to arrange for the intake process to continue. Evaluations are completed to determine if the child is eligible for early intervention services. Health and developmental needs may be identified in the areas of:

  • Hearing
  • Speech
  • Language
  • Physical Development
  • Cognitive Development
  • Social-Emotional Development
  • Self Help Skills

Children are eligible to receive services if they have a developmental delay, atypical development likely to result in subsequent delay, or a diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay.

Children Ages 3 - 5

Children ages three to five are eligible to receive services in Howard County if they meet any of the following criteria:

  • Children who reside in Howard County and do not attend any preschool program
  • Children who reside in Howard County and attend a tax-exempt or approved preschool program in Howard County (as determined by the Maryland State Department of Education)
  • Children who reside in Howard County and attend a preschool program in Howard County that is not tax exempt or approved by the Maryland State Department of Education
  • Children who do not reside in Howard County but attend a tax-exempt or approved preschool program located in Howard County (as determined by the Maryland State Department of Education)

The Preschool Child Find Team is an interdisciplinary team that provides identification services to children from three to five years of age who may have a disability including developmental delay. The team includes an educational diagnostician, a speech-language pathologist, a psychologist, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, an audiologist, a pediatrician, and a nurse. Parents are important members of the team and are included in each IEP team meeting. The Preschool Child Find Team provides all services at no cost to the parent.

Referral

A parent or guardian, medical personnel, or other concerned individuals may call the Child Find Team (410-313-7046) to refer a young child who may be in need of special education and related services. Identifying information is obtained from the parents, and a parent referral, parent questionnaire, and ďAges and Stages QuestionnaireĒ are sent to them. A meeting is scheduled to review the written referral and the questionnaires completed by the parent. When appropriate, a Preschool Educational Report, observations by private preschool teachers, and assessments provided by the parent are obtained and reviewed. Upon review of the existing information, the IEP team may recommend that additional information regarding developmental areas, vision, or hearing be gathered. If the IEP team suspects that the child has a disability and may need special education, assessments in all areas related to the suspected disability are recommended.

Assessment

For each child needing further assessment, information from a variety of sources is obtained and reviewed. Areas of concern and questions that need to be addressed and answered are identified by the Child Find Team, which includes the parents. The recommended assessments are conducted by school-based staff. A variety of assessment procedures are used to gather the needed information. Assessment reports that include information from the parent are written.

Evaluation

The assessment reports are reviewed at an IEP team meeting and a written evaluation report is completed to determine whether the child is a child with a disability. The evaluation report includes a summary of the childís performance in each area of suspected disability; relevant functional, cognitive, developmental, behavioral, and physical information; and instructional implications for the preschool childís participation in appropriate activities. The IEP team completes the evaluation of the child within 60 days of receiving the signed permission to test or 90 days from the date of the receipt of the signed written referral, whichever comes first. The parent is given a copy of the assessment reports, the Evaluation Report, and the IEP Team Meeting summary. For those children eligible for services, an Individualized Education Program is developed.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

If the child is determined to be a child with a disability, an IEP is developed by the school staff with input from the parents within 30 days of the meeting to review assessment results. The IEP team reviews the IEP, identifies services needed to implement the IEP, and considers options for the provision of services in the least restrictive environment.

School Age Students

School-age children who attend a private or religiously affiliated school in Howard County, whether residing in Howard County or another jurisdiction, may be referred for identification by calling the Child Find Program at the County Diagnostic Center (410-313-7046). When a student in a private or religiously affiliated school is referred, the parents are asked to complete a Parent Referral form, Parent/Guardian Questionnaire, and Educational Report form. Written permission is obtained for Howard County Public School System staff to review the studentís records, reports from any specialists who have worked with the student, and Educational Reports completed by the studentís current teachers. Parents are asked to send the requested information to:

  • The principal of the studentís neighborhood school for Howard County residents; or
  • A school near the private or religiously-affiliated school residents (designated by the County Diagnostic Center) for non Howard County residents.

The identification process will be completed at the designated school.

A student who is enrolled in a public school may receive identification and assessment services at that school. The process includes the following:

Identification

A student who is suspected of having a disability is referred to the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team. The IEP team meets to receive the referral and to review existing data, information from the parent, previously implemented instructional interventions and strategies, current classroom-based assessments, and observations by teachers and related service providers. Based on this information the IEP team shall determine the need for assessment.

Assessment

If assessments are recommended because a disability is suspected, the school staff obtains written permission from the parent and completes an educational assessment and other assessments as needed.

Evaluation

After the assessments are completed, the IEP team reviews the studentís records and results of the assessments, and completes the Evaluation Report to determine eligibility for special education and related services. If appropriate, the IEP team verifies the existence of a disability and identifies staff members who shall participate in the development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Copies of the assessment reports, the Evaluation Report, and a written record of the recommendations made by the IEP team are provided to the parent.

The Evaluation Report and determination of eligibility for special education shall be completed within 60 calendar days from the date of the signed permission to test or 90 days from the receipt of the signed written referral, whichever comes first. For those children eligible for services, an Individualized Education Program is developed.

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

If the child is determined to be a child with a disability, an IEP is developed by the school staff with input from the parents within 30 days of the meeting to review assessment results. The IEP team reviews the IEP, identifies services needed to implement the IEP, and considers options for the provision of services in the least restrictive environment.

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