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Special Services - Child Study Team Frequently Asked Questions

Child Study Team Frequently Asked Questions

Who is on the Intervention and Referral Services Team (I&RS) and how is the I&RS team different from the Child Study Team (CST)?

The Intervention and Referral Services Team is typically made up of the school principal, the school nurse, the school guidance counselor, one special education teacher, one general education teacher, and a child study team member. The I&RS Team develops strategies and interventions for teachers who are facing challenges in meeting the needs of students.  

The Child Study Team is comprised of the School Psychologist, the School Social Worker, the Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDT/C), and the Supervisor of the Department. Through the use of evaluations the Child Study Team determines whether or not a child is in need or eligible for special education services. The Speech therapist and other related services providers also work in conjunction with the CST, when such services are needed.

What makes a child eligible for services?

To be eligible for special education and related services: (1) A student must have a disability according to one of the eligibility categories; (2) The disability must adversely affect the student’s educational performance; and (3) The student must be in need of special education and related services (New Jersey Department of Education, 2009).


My child has dyslexia, why isn’t he/she eligible for services?

The diagnosis of dyslexia is not a category of classification. A child having the diagnosis of dyslexia alone is not sufficient to deem them eligible for special education services. After the evaluation is completed, eligibility is determined collaboratively at a meeting (criteria can be found in N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.5).  If a child has dyslexia, he/she may or may not qualify for services. Conditions like dyslexia, typically fall under the category of "specific learning disability." However, in order for a child with dyslexia to be eligible for services, there must be a negative impact of that condition on the child's educational performance resulting in the child's need for special education." ( For more information on Specific Learning Disability you can refer to the Special Education Administrative Code which can be found in the parent resources section of this web page).

After my child is evaluated by the CST what happens next?

Once the evaluations are completed, a collaborative meeting (otherwise known as an eligibility meeting) is scheduled by the student’s case manager where the results are reviewed and a determination is made as to whether the student is eligible for special education and related services. If the student is eligible, the IEP Team discusses programming and placement options to meet the student’s educational needs. If a parent is in agreement and signs the Individualized Educational Program/Plan services will typically go into effect the next school day.


Who is the IEP team and who must attend the IEP meetings?

Except when they have been excused from attending the following persons must attend IEP meetings:

_ Student, if appropriate (Beginning at age 14, the student must be invited to attend the IEP meeting to meet the requirements for transition planning).

_ Parent(s);

_ Not less than one general education teacher (to the extent appropriate), if the student is or will be participating in regular education;

_ Not less than one special education teacher (or special education provider where appropriate);

_ At least one child study team member;

_ Case manager;

_ School district representative;

_ Others at the discretion of the parent or school district; and

_ If transition will be discussed at the IEP meeting, a representative of any other agency likely to provide or pay for services; and

_ At request of the parent, the Part C Service Coordinator for a student transitioning from the Early Intervention Program to the Part B Special Education program offered by the school district (New Jersey Department of Education, 2009).

What is an Individualized Educational Program/Plan (IEP)?

The IEP is a written plan that describes your child’s special education program, their current performance, and instructional needs, modifications that are made to the general education curriculum, accommodations provided in the classroom, related services needed to assist the student in accessing the general education curriculum and goals and objective for the plan.

If my child is pulled out of class for special services, what part does my child's general education teacher have in the IEP process?  

If a child is pulled out of the class for special services it is because the child is receiving his or her instruction in a separate setting for one or more subjects. This setting is different from the general education classroom because the child is receiving specialized instruction in a smaller sized class with other students with disabilities. The general education teacher’s part in the IEP process is to report on the child’s progress in the area of instruction which he or she provides the student and the student’s social and behavioral functioning in the general education setting.

What is the parent’s part in the child’s IEP?

The parent(s) is an active member of the IEP Team who has the right to share concerns and voice opinions relevant to their child’s educational program. Feedback and collaboration is expected in order to address each child’s individual need so that each child is afforded a free and appropriate education.

What is a PRISE booklet?

The Parental Rights in Special Education (PRISE) is a document published by the New Jersey Department of Education that describes the state and federal laws affecting the provision of special education to help you understand your rights in the special education process. This information is designed to prepare parents to take an active role in their child’s education. The Office of Special Education Programs periodically revises this document to reflect changes in the law, provide additional information that would be of use and to provide the information in a more clear and concise manner. This document was last revised in May 2009 (New Jersey Department of Education, 2009).

My child is already classified and has been reevaluated. What happens if I do not agree with the CST findings?

After the eligibility meeting if the parent is not in agreement and does not sign the proposed program/plan, the parent has 15 days to review the document and within those 15 days they must either decide that they would like to proceed with the proposed plan/program or file mediation or due process within that time period to stop the implementation of the action proposed by the district. The parent must make those requests in writing to the Office of Special Education Programs. If at the end of those 15 days the parent has neither signed nor filed mediation or due process the proposed program/plan goes into effect.

My child’s teacher says they need help, why doesn’t the CST agree? Why won’t the CST evaluate my child?

If the Child Study Team has not chosen to evaluate your child, it could be for a number of reasons. In order for an evaluation to move forward the Child Study Team will become involved after the teacher has sought assistance from the Intervention and Referral Services Team (I&RS). General education initiatives are required to be attempted prior to seeking an evaluation from the CST. Therefore, the CST will generally not evaluate a student if the teacher has not been to the I&RS team to seek interventions and strategies that would possibly help the student exhibit positive academic progress.

What determines whether or not the school pays for my child’s evaluations?

Evaluations are paid for by the Child Study Team once pertinent data has been collected through the I&RS process that the child may have a suspected educational disability. Any parent who chooses to have their child evaluated on their own without following the appropriate school process will have to incur the cost of the evaluations. It is recommended that when a parent suspects that their child has a learning difficulty that they communicate this to the teacher and seek his or her input so that the teacher can seek assistance through the I&RS team if warranted.

Am I supposed to get my child evaluated on my own or wait until the school agrees there is a need?

Parents are free to do as they wish with their child. However, it is always a good idea to collaborate with the student’s teacher and consult with the Child Study Team before parents initiate evaluations as they can be costly.  

If I get an evaluation on my own, must the school accept and implement any recommendations I receive from a third party?

The school district must consider any independent evaluation, including one you pay for, when making decisions regarding your child’s special education program. However, the school district is not required to accept the evaluation report or incorporate any of its recommendations in your child’s IEP.

My child is classified. What summer services are available for my child?

The IEP team shall make an individual determination regarding the need for an extended school year program based upon each student’s educational needs. An extended school year program provides for the extension of special education and related services beyond the regular school year. An extended school year program is provided in accordance with the student's IEP when an interruption in educational programming causes the student's performance to revert to a lower level of functioning and recoupment cannot be expected in a reasonable length of time. The IEP team shall consider all relevant factors in determining the need for an extended school year program and develop a program designed to maintain the student’s educational needs to avoid undue regression (New Jersey Administrative Code, 6A:14-4.5(c), 2010).