ECSE - FAQ
Q: What is the referral and evaluation process?
A: Parents have the right to request an educational evaluation if they have concerns about or suspect delays in their child's development. This evaluation, provided by Mounds View Schools, will be done at no direct cost to the family.
Q: What is the purpose of an educational evaluation?
A: The purpose of an evaluation is to determine if a child has delays in any areas of development which would make him or her eligible for special education services. Minnesota law requires that a child show a certain amount of delay in order to qualify for special education services through the school district. Children under the age of three may also qualify for services because they have been identified as having a diagnosed physical or mental condition or disorder that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay regardless of whether they have a demonstrated need or delay. If a child qualifies for services, he or she would receive special education services at no direct cost to the family.
Q: How is a special education referral requested?
A: A referral for children from birth to five can be made by calling Help Me Grow at (651-604-3700).
Q: What happens when a Special Education referral is made?
A: When the referral is made to Help Me Grow, it is given to the school district team. This team will determine if the school district should complete a formal evaluation. If the team decides to go ahead with an evaluation, an Evaluation Plan is written and the school district will proceed with the Evaluation within 45 days of the initial referral.
If the child is age three or older, the referral is made to the ECSE Child Study Team. An ECSE staff member is assigned to be the evaluation case manager and primary connection with the family. This person contacts the family about developing an Evaluation Plan. The plan is developed with the parent at a meeting with the evaluation team members. In order to get a good picture of the whole child, Minnesota requires that all areas of the child's development be addressed. A team of ECSE professionals completes an initial evaluation within 30 days of the parent signature.
Q: Who performs the evaluation? Are parents involved?
A: An evaluation team may consist of an ECSE Teacher, Psychologist, Speech/Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist and/or other specialists as deemed appropriate. Team members are trained to work with very young children and their families.
Parent interviews and checklists are also a part of the evaluation. Childcare providers, preschool teachers, and other significant adults in a child's life may be included with parent permission. The evaluation team will ask parents about their child and his/her likes/dislikes and routines. In addition, parents will be asked about their concerns, questions and anything else they would like to share about their child. Parents' information is very important in the evaluation process and will be included in the evaluation report.
Q: What happens in an evaluation?
A: The evaluation team will arrange a time with the family and observe the child in the natural setting. Under the age of three this is most often in the home or child care setting. For children over the age of three, this could be at home, childcare or in a preschool setting.
Formal testing using standardized tests is often used to gather information about a child's present level of development as compared to children of a similar age. The child will be asked to play or interact with materials in a certain way. Some of the tasks are easy and others are more difficult. Because of the nature of standardized tests, a child is not expected to do or understand every item that is presented. Team members may need more than one session to complete their portion of the evaluation, and sometimes two team members will work together.
Q: How are the results of the evaluation shared with parents?
A: Results of the evaluation are compiled by the evaluation team and shared at a parent conference. For the birth to three team, this meeting is scheduled within 45 business days and with children ages 3-5, the meeting is scheduled within 30 days after signed permission from the parents. The team may present the results in a draft form and with test results in numbers and percentages. These numbers are required for eligibility and provide the baseline for staff to help the child.
Special education services can be provided as long as the child qualifies for them. A re-evaluation may take place as a child turns three and every three years to determine if the child continues to have needs and qualify for special education services.
Q: How are ECSE services provided?
A: In the birth to age three ECSE program, most services are provided within the natural setting of the home. Services may also be provided in daycare settings or in a setting that is mutually decided upon between the parent and the staff. In the ages 3-5 program, we work very closely with other Early Childhood programs such as Early Childhood Preschool, Play and Learn Preschool and Head Start. We promote children to be in an inclusive setting with same age, developing peers as much as possible.