In the public school system, before referring a child for Special Education Services, the school district is required to provide various levels of intervention to students struggling academically or behaviorally. Each school has a team, usually consisting of the child's teacher, the parent, and other professionals, who review interventions available to the child and make intervention recommendations prior to assessing for Special Education.
As a parent, here is what you should know about the student study team opportunities in our schools...
Entering a new school or grade level requires a period of adjustment time (a month or two), you may be concerned if you notice some of the problems listed below.
School Related Problems that May Warrant Program Modification
- Seems to learn at a rate significantly slower than classmates.
- Makes little progress in one or more basic skill areas in spite of modifications or remedial instructions.
- Has a short attention span or is unable to pay attention.
- Exhibits work that is disorganized, illegible, or incomplete.
- Uses immature language or speech patterns.
- Seems overly quiet or appears withdrawn.
- Has a poor memory for things seen or heard.
- Reverses or confuses sounds, letters, words, or numbers beyond grade three.
- Has difficulty with pencil or paper tasks.
- Seems very clumsy or has difficulty moving or locating body space.
- Has an inadequate or distorted understanding of time relationships.
- Seems easily frustrated or lacks patience.
- Seems to act without thinking.
- Has unusual posture when reading or writing.
- Has trouble shifting from one idea to another.
- Stubbornly refuses to attempt new learning tasks.
If you suspect your child may have some difficulties in school you can seek help in several ways. One way is to discuss your concerns with your child's teacher(s). You may find that the teacher shares your concerns and is trying to address them. If your concerns continue, you should contact your child's teacher again and ask that a Student Study Team Referral form be completed and forwarded to the Student Study Team. Information regarding your child will be gathered by staff for that meeting.
A second way to seek help is for you to complete a Student Study Team referral form and turn it in to the principal at you child's school. The principal will begin the Student Study Team process described below.
Student Study Team (SST) Process
Students experiencing academic and/or behavioral problems in the general education program may be referred for discussion to the Student Study Team by anyone having knowledge of their functioning, including: physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers and parents. The referral will be reviewed by the Student Study Team at the local school site.
The Student Study Team is a regular education forum composed of personnel with varying specialties and experience chaired by the principal or designee of the school site. It is the intent of the SST to act as a resource when intervention assistance is sought. The SST may suggest regular program interventions within the classroom and/or support services available to all students.
The Student Study Team may include the following personnel:
- Assistant principal/Administrator/Designee
- School psychologist
- School counselor
- Community liaison
- Resource specialist teacher
- Reading specialist
- General education teacher
You may be invited to attend the SST meeting, share information about your child's school performance and talk about your concerns. The team may decide that modifications of the general education program are appropriate to address your child's needs. If so, these modifications or interventions will be written and monitored.
If these modifications/interventions are not successful, the SST may ultimately recommend additional assessment. Should this be necessary, you will be contacted in order to obtain your informed written consent.