The Department of Special Services oversees support to students with special needs, supports teachers, guides parents regarding accessing school and county services, and liaisons to the county to procure funding for materials, support staff and technological aids. The Department of Special Services is responsible for maintaining active service plans for all students with special needs and scheduling services within the school, as well as coordinating county services.
How Can My Child Access Special Services at RPRY?
Who is eligible for special education services?
Any child in RPRY, who is found to have a difficulty that impedes academic growth, may access numerous services based on educational need.
How is it determined that my child has an educational disability?
The State of New Jersey is required to identify, evaluate, and if classified as being eligible, to provide services to RPRY students. Services and programs vary by age divisions (birth-3, 3-5, 5-21). Middlesex County Educational Services Commission (MRESC) is the contracted agency that is used by Edison Township to provide most of these services. At no cost to our families, MRESC evaluates any child when there is reason to believe that the child may have a disability that may affect his or her ability to learn. Parents can opt to evaluate areas of concerns privately, at any time, at their own expense.
How does my child get identified for an evaluation?
Teachers or parents usually make the initial identification of areas of concern to the Director of Special Services. Observations are conducted and work samples are collected to confirm difficulties. At that time, intervention strategies are put in place and a decision is made, in consultation with parents, whether to pursue an evaluation. Written consent must be given by the parents to evaluate through a special form provided by the State of New Jersey to RPRY.
Once a child is identified, what happens?
Within 20 business days, parents are contacted by the case manager to set up a pre-evaluation conference to discuss the presenting concerns with our child study team (CST). This group consists of a learning consultant, psychologist, a social worker and sometimes a speech-language therapist. The purpose of this meeting is to determine the need for evaluation and what specific assessments should be conducted. Usually learning and psychological assessments are conducted in addition to other options that can be requested, such as: speech-language, audiological, neurological, psychiatric, etc. There must be at least two areas of suspected disability tested. Testing is usually conducted during the school day.
What happens after the evaluation?
All test results are provided to the parent at least ten days prior to the Determination for Eligibility conference. This meeting happens within 90 days of the start of the process. If the child becomes classified as eligible for services, the CST devises a Service Plan (SP) to formulate a program that will address needs. The classroom teachers are notified about and invited to attend meetings, along with written observations regarding relevant performance data. Special education services are available to children who require services as a result of cognitive impairment, hearing impairments, speech-language impairments, visual impairments, emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disability. Data regarding relative strengths, weaknesses, compensatory and intervention strategies are provided to the classroom teachers in a written format called a transition report. Often, a plan is put in place to discuss relative strengths and weaknesses with the student directly to aid in remediation support.
How is it determined which services the eligible child will receive?
The individual program is represented in the SP. It states the current educational status, statement of objectives in measurable steps and related services that include: remediation skills, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech therapy, counseling, etc. These related services are provided based on staff availability and available federal funds.
What types of programs are available?
Many options are available, depending upon the nature and severity of the child's educational needs. Options through MRESC include Supplemental Instruction, Speech/Language instruction, Compensatory Education (poor classroom performance/ Terra Nova assessments), Home Instruction (temporary instruction for physically fragile children). Additionally, RPRY provides individual and small group instruction in our resource room.
What happens to my child after a program is put into place?
Once a child a child is formally identified, whether or not a classified status is determined, the evaluation data is confidentially maintained in the Office of Special Services. Intermittent teacher consultations/student observations and/or work samples are collected to determine continued adjustments in modifications with the Director. This information is shared on a regular basis with parents by the classroom teacher and/or by the Director of Special
Services. Evaluation data and eligibility are considered valid and reliable for three years (except in the case of a preschooler, who must be reassessed each year). Each year, by the anniversary date of the original evaluation, the eligible child has an Annual Review. The Annual Review with parents, case manager, teachers and Special Service Director is set to review classroom performance and growth, to determine any changes to the service plan for the coming year. The transition report is revised annually and provided to teachers each year. Upon the third year of evaluation, a triennial evaluation takes place to determine continuation of services or declassification. As this information is considered highly confidential, it is not shared with other institutions unless parents request it.
Who do I contact if I have concerns about my child?
If you notice that your child is struggling in school, please share your concerns with the classroom teacher who will guide you in the appropriate direction. Your insights and observations about your child enhance our ability to facilitate positive learning experiences here at RPRY.