Screening and Evaluation Services

  • Multidisciplinary team evaluation

    The public schools must conduct a multidisciplinary team evaluation of every child who is thought to have a disability. The multidisciplinary team is a group of professionals who are trained in and experienced with the testing, assessment, and observation of children to determine whether they have disabilities and, if so, to identify their primary educational strengths and needs. Parents are members of the multidisciplinary team. Public schools must reevaluate school-age students receiving special education services every three years and children with mental retardation.

    Parents may request a multidisciplinary team evaluation of their children at any time. They must do so in writing. Every public school has a procedure in place by which parents can request an evaluation. For information about the procedures that apply in your public school, contact the elementary, middle, or high school to which children in your area are assigned.

    Parents of preschool age children, age three through five, may request an evaluation in writing by addressing a letter as follows: Chester County Intermediate Unit, Early Intervention Services, 455 Boot Road, Downingtown, Pennsylvania 19335. The telephone number for the Early Intervention Program is (484) 237-5150.

    Parents of children in private schools may request a multidisciplinary team evaluation of their children without enrolling in the public schools. While some services might be available to some private school children found eligible by public school multidisciplinary teams, the public schools are not required to provide all or any of the special education and related services that children enrolled in the public schools would receive. If, after an evaluation, the multidisciplinary team determines that the child is eligible for special education and related services, the public school must offer the parents an IEP and a public school-sponsored placement. If parents wish to take advantage of such an offer, they might have to enroll or re-enroll their child in the public schools to do so.

    Before the public school can proceed with an evaluation, it must notify the parents in writing of the specific types of testing and assessment it proposes to conduct, of the date and time of the evaluation, and of the parents' rights. The evaluation cannot begin until the parent has signed the written notice indicating that he or she consents to the proposed testing and assessments and has returned the notice to the public school.

    Screening

    Public schools undertake screening activities before referring most children for a multidisciplinary team evaluation. Screening activities consist of the following:

    • Ongoing analysis of the child's response to instruction and performance on State-wide and District-wide assessments.
    • Periodic vision and hearing assessments by the school nurse and review of the results of physical examinations by school or private physicians as Mandated by the Pennsylvania Public School Code.
    • Team-based baseline assessment and analysis of the child's response to individualized academic or behavioral intervention over a period of up to sixty (60) days. Such intervention-based screening occurs when requested by the child's teacher, parents, or other concerned school personnel.

    For information about the various screening activities in your local public school or to request screening activities for a particular child, contact the local district school directly.