Parents are often surprised to learn their young child actually does not have to wait until they are 6 years old to be placed in a classroom in their local school district. In fact, federal regulations requires every state to have a program in place to refer children for a special education assessment, who are demonstrating delays in their development. This program is called Child Find, and it requires districts have policies and procedures in place to ensure the identification, location, and evaluation of children 3 to 21 years old with delays.
If you live in the Atlanta Metro area, you may have attempted to refer your child for an evaluation at your local school district, but experienced delays and challenges in that process. We know. Countless parents have shared stories of their school system dropping the ball. You may find that some districts may create barriers of access to initiating this process to delay starting the clock on this time-sensitive process. If you don’t remember anything, remember they are legally required to respond to a written request for evaluation (Google Doc).
Based on the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) 34 C.F.R. § 300.301, you should know:
- You can request the school district initiate an initial evaluation to determine if your child has a disability,
- The school district must conduct this evaluation within 60 days of receiving parental consent for evaluation,
- The school district cannot refuse to conduct an evaluation nor delay an evaluation due to the absence of information about prior interventions,
- If the school district chooses not to evaluate because they do not suspect that your child has a disability, they must provide written notice to you explaining why they refuse to conduct an initial evaluation and the information that was used as the basis for the decision, and
- You can challenge this decision by filing a formal complaint or requesting a due process hearing to resolve the dispute regarding your child’s need for an evaluation.
Each respective school district has a referral packet you must complete as part of the referral process. Receive instant access by entering your information below.
Request a Referral Packet
The following documents will be required to register your child:
- Copy of the child’s Social Security card
- Certificate of Immunization (Georgia form 3231) (Religious waiver—Form JLCB-2)
- Hearing, Dental, Vision Screening Certificate (Georgia form 3300)
- Proof of birth date
- Two documents proving residency
- Proof of custody, if applicable
Registration is required before the county will evaluate.