Special Services Manual

As the parent/guardian of a special education student, you are a key part of the process that provides an appropriate and caring educational experience for your child. You are the advocate who remains a constant in your child’s life as he or she progresses through the school system. This manual is an effort to provide you with clear and accurate information that will help you work effectively with district personnel. It does not replace state laws and guidelines, which are detailed in separate handbooks that you will receive throughout your child’s education. This book is a resource in tandem with your personal communication with district professionals. Central Regional’s Mission Statement applies to every child in our district.

All About Special Education Services

Evaluation and intervention services are provided to students by the Child Study Team, special education instructional staff, and related services specialists. A referral to the Child Study Team may be initiated by a parent/guardian, teacher, school nurse, school administrator, special services staff, medical specialist and other professionals or agencies concerned with the welfare of students when an educational disability may be suspected. Public schools are required by law to develop a process for identifying potentially educationally disabled students. An educationally disabled student is one who may be experiencing difficulties of a physical, emotional, academic, intellectual, or social nature to the extent that the student is not able to function effectively in a regular education program. A Child Study Team evaluation is necessary to determine the basis of the difficulties and whether the student is eligible for special services. If the student is determined eligible for special education and related services an individualized educational program (IEP) is developed.

With federal passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) in December 2004, parents/guardians are an integral part of the IEP Team that plans an appropriate school program and an IEP for the educationally disabled child. Parents and school personnel work together throughout this process in developing an appropriate program to meet the unique student needs. The district provides the full continuum of program options as outlined in the New Jersey Administrative code (NJAC 6A: 14). The complete rules and regulations pertaining to Child Study Team procedures and students with disabilities are contained in the New Jersey Administrative Code, Title 6A, Chapter 14, Special Education.

The First Step

The Intervention and Referral Service (I&RS) team serves as a resource for teachers and is an integral part of the pre-referral process. I&RS members typically include, but are not limited to, the school principal, nurse, counselor, CST members and teachers. I&RS may also include parents, special education super-visors, speech therapists, or reading specialists. The purpose of the I&RS is to address any possible concerns teachers may have regarding their students’ academic, social, or emotional functioning. Based on meetings with teachers, the I&RS team develops case-specific strategies for use in regular education class-rooms. Teachers then implement these strategies according to I&RS recommendations. Parents are informed about the progress of their child through contact with the teacher. If the strategies are not effective, they may be revised or, if it is suspected that the student is potentially educationally disabled, a referral will be made to the Child Study Team. Parents can request their child be brought before the I&RS team. They would do this by contacting the child’s teacher or principal.

*Parents are always notified if their child is referred to I&RS. Parents can always request a CST evaluation before, during, or after the I&RS process. Written requests for CST evaluations should be directed to the Director of Special Education.

When You Will Receive the Procedural Safeguards

The procedural safeguards must be given to you one time each school year and at the following times:

  • When your child is first referred for evaluation or when you request an evaluation

  • When you request a copy of the procedural safeguards

  • When your child is removed for disciplinary reasons and the removal results in a change in placement

  • Upon receipt of the first State complaint and/or the first due process petition in a school year, if you should file a State complaint or request a due process hearing

  • Upon revision to the procedural safeguards

Procedural Safeguards Handbook on Parents' Rights

IDEA requires school districts to provide parents of a child with a suspected disability, a notice containing a full explanation of the procedural safeguards (legal rights) available under IDEA and other state and federal regulations. This hand-book is called, “Parental Rights in Special Education” (PRISE). Parents/guardians can obtain a copy of the PRISE Handbook in the district's Child Study Team office, or by clicking the link below:

Identification & Placement Process

Referral > Evaluation > Eligibility > Individualized Education Plan > Placement > Annual Review/Re-Evaluation Meeting

D. The Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

Upon completion of the evaluation, an eligibility conference will be held to discuss whether the student meets the code criteria making them eligible for special education and/or related services. A copy of the collaborative Child Study Team finding report will be given to the parents. Subsequently, but usually immediately following this conference, and Individualized Education Plan (IEP) conference will be held. At this meeting, the student’s educational strengths and needs will be considered. Goals and objectives will be developed to address identified needs. The team will then determine the appropriate program for each individual student with consideration of the least restrictive environment as a priority. The evaluations, determination of eligibility for services, and (if eligible), the development and implementation of the IEP shall be completed within 90 calendar days of the district’s receipt of parental permission to evaluate. The implementation of a child’s individual education program should occur 15 days after the IEP Team’s completion of the plan, unless parents and school personnel mutually agree to an earlier implementation date. Times may vary, for example, if a child is assigned to another school for services and transportation must be arranged; if supplemental aids must be acquired and/or staff must receive specialized training in order to fully implement the IEP. The IEP document should identify the student’s primary educational placement, the projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications described in the plan, and the frequency, location and duration for each service.

5. Placement

The New Jersey Administrative Code for special education and the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensure that children with disabilities receive a free, appropriate, public education in the least restrictive environment. As noted above, in accordance with the least restrictive environment, the first placement option considered is the regular education classroom with the necessary supplemental aids and supports to enable the student to meet their educational goals.

Related Services

Related Services may be provided to students ages 3 through twelfth grade who are eligible for special education and related services. Related services in K-12 grade include speech/language, occupational and physical therapies, counseling, and special transportation, etc.

Occupational Therapy


As the IEP team plans, they may decide that a student needs a paraprofessional to support the classroom teacher and/or students. The overarching needs that the paraprofessional is to address are identified by the IEP team. However, on a daily basis, paraprofessionals work as support personnel under the supervision of certified school professionals. A paraprofessional serving in a special education position assists teachers in a variety of responsibilities and performs a multitude of tasks that are both instructional and/or non-instructional.


The development of age-appropriate speech and language skills is essential to the learning process and to a student’s social and emotional growth. Children must be able to comprehend the language, express their thoughts, request explanations from the teacher and produce speech that others can easily understand.