'Child find' provides special education servicesWORTHINGTON — Each educational district in Minnesota is required to develop a continuous and systematic process for identifying, locating and screening children who may be in need of special education services
By: Deb Stoll, District 518, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Each educational district in Minnesota is required to develop a continuous and systematic process for identifying, locating and screening children who may be in need of special education services. This identification system, referred to as “child find,” focuses on children birth through age 21, children in the public and nonpublic schools and school age children who are not attending school. Also included in a district’s child find activities is to identify homeless and migratory children and children who may need special education even though they are advancing from grade to grade.
Although Worthington District 518 is responsible for identifying and locating children in need, Worthington Schools combine efforts with numerous agencies in their child finding responsibilities, partnering to identify those children that may have a disability. Referrals often come from parents, doctors, private and public programs health and human service agencies, Early Childhood Screening and anyone concerned about a child’s development.
If you have concerns about a child’s development, there are several options for making a referral. Minnesota has created a website, Parents Know/Help Me Grow, as listed below. This online site is designed as a comprehensive resource for parents offering answers to parent questions, a video library, and child development and milestone charts which are spoken and written in Spanish, Hmong and Somalia. This website also has a tab for making a referral for a child to the site, which will be confidentially referred to the local education agency in Worthington. http://parentsknow.state.mn or call 1-866-693 GROW (4769)
Other options for referral are to talk to a health care provider, or call Worthington School District’s central point of intake at Prairie Elementary School at 727-1250 and ask for the Early Childhood Special Education Department.
Once a child is referred (from birth on) due to developmental concerns, a screening and/or evaluation may be conducted at no charge to the family. If a child is identified as having a developmental delay early intervention or school-based services are recommended for older children to focus on the child’s individual needs.
Deb Stoll is assistant director of special education in District 518.