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FDLRS | CHILD FIND SERVICES | HUMAN RESOURCES DEVELOPMENT | TECHNOLOGY | PARENT SERVICES

FDLRS LogoFDLRS Child Find - Identifying Special Learning

NEEDS IN YOUNG CHILDREN

 

The purpose of Child Find is to discover whether your child has special learning needs, to identify what those needs are, and to provide the programs and services which will best address them.  These are the steps in the Child Find process:

Screening:  An appointment is scheduled with the Child Find office, to find out about your child's skills, and to screen vision and hearing.  The screening, conducted at the Child Find office in your area, helps determine whether further evaluation is needed, and if so, what kind(s).  If screening results and other available information about your child show a need for further assessment, an appointment for more in-depth evaluation will be scheduled.  If the screening shows that your child has appropriate skills for his or her age, no further evaluation will be needed.

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Evaluation:  Recommended evaluations may include speech/language, intellectual, developmental, emotional/behavioral, audiological, occupational therapy, physical therapy and/or communication (sensory impaired) assessments.  Test reports from outside sources may be used to determine program eligibility in place of  School District-provided evaluations, if they include all the information needed to meet district and State eligibility guidelines.  In some cases the District may determine that further evaluation is necessary. 

 

Eligibility and Placement:  Following completion of the evaluation, a meeting is scheduled to discuss results with you and to determine whether your child is eligible for a pre kindergarten exceptional student program.  If your child is determined eligible, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be written, with your participation, to outline identified needs and the services which might best meet those needs.  This eligibility/ placement meeting is required by law before a child may begin receiving services.  Your involvement is extremely important!

The location of the program most appropriate for your child must be based upon his or her unique needs.  Not all schools offer the same programs!  By law, no final decision about your child's eligibility or program needs may be made until the formal eligibility/placement meeting.  For that reason, no one, including Child Find staff, can tell you before this meeting whether your child is eligible, or where services would be provided.

Program Participation:  The progress of every child enrolled in an exceptional student pre kindergarten program is carefully monitored by the teacher and others involved.  A new Individual Educational Plan must be written, with parent involvement, at least once a year as long as your child is enrolled in the program.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT PROGRAMS FOR PREKINDERGARTEN AGE CHILDREN

Q:  Is there any charge for Child Find screening or evaluation, or for attending a program if a child qualifies for placement?

A:  No.  Child Find services are  provided at no cost to parents.  Under current law, a "free and
appropriate " education is guaranteed for eligible exceptional children from age 3.
Transportation is also available at no cost from home to school and back for children
who live two miles or more from the school where services are to be provided.

Q:  What conditions or disabilities will qualify a child for placement in a pre kindergarten
Exceptional Student Education (ESE) program in Palm Beach County?

A:   3, 4 and 5-year-old children may qualify for placement in a pre kindergarten ESE program if
they meet eligibility requirements under one or more of the following classifications:

Speech Impaired   Deaf/Hard of Hearing
Language Impaired Specific Learning Disabled
Vision Impaired  Autism Spectrum Disorder   
Intellectual Disabilities Dual Sensory Impaired
Emotional/Behavioral Disability    Orthopedically Impaired
Developmentally Delayed  

Children determined eligible as Deaf and Hard of Hearing may be served from birth.

A child who is eligible under one or more of the above classifications may also receive physical therapy and/or occupational therapy if the eligibility requirements for those services are met.

The "eligibility requirements" referred to are explained in Palm Beach County School District's Special Programs and Procedures for Exceptional Students.  This document is reviewed and approved by the Florida Department of Education annually.

Q:  Does a child's categorical eligibility automatically determine what kind of program he or she will be placed into? 

A:   The actual classroom setting in which an eligible child is placed depends upon that child's overall needs.  Children are matched with classroom environments which will best meet their learning needs.  The child's "classification" or eligibility is only one factor in choosing the best placement.  Palm Beach County's pre kindergarten ESE programs vary in the kinds of professional staff present in the classroom, the degree of structure, and hours per week in class.  The type of program which may best meet an individual child's needs is determined with the parent at a placement meeting held before the child may begin attending a program or receiving services.