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The Referral Process


The Referral Process for Special Education and Related Services

Pre-referral Interventions

Prior to a referral for a special education evaluation, school districts must be able to document the efforts it has made to address and solve the presenting problems of the student.  The school must implement and progress monitor a minimum of two research based interventions.  The two interventions are put in place for four to six weeks in an attempt to solve problem(s) exhibited by the student.  If the team determines that the student is not making adequate progress following the interventions and suspects the student may be a student with a disability, they may proceed with a referral to the district's Child Study Team for a special education evaluation.

Child Study Team

The Child Study team determines if an evaluation is appropriate, what areas need to be evaluated and who will be involved in the evaluation process.  This results in an evaluation plan that is reviewed with the parents. For initial evaluations, parents must provide written consent in order for the district to proceed with an evaluation.


A comprehensive evaluation is completed by a multi-disciplinary team. Areas assessed may include academic, social, emotional, behavioral, attention, motor, cognitive, and sensory. The multi-disciplinary team may include classroom teachers, special education teachers, parents, the school psychologist, the school social worker, related service personnel, and the building administrator. The school district has 30 school days to complete the evaluation once they have received written consent from parents. 

Identification and Placement

The multi-disciplinary team meets, including the parents, to determine if a student meets initial criteria for a disability and needs special education services.  If the student qualifies for services, the team develops an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Services are provided in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), which may be the general education classroom or the special education resource room. The Least Restrictive Environment is determined at the IEP meeting.