What is Child Find?
Each public school system is responsible for finding children with disabilities in its area. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Child Find requires every state to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities, from birth to 21 years of age. IDEA requires an assessment regardless of the severity of the child's disability, whether the child attends private or public school, or if a child is experiencing homelessness. School districts and public charter schools must ensure that a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is provided for all children who are identified as needing special education and related services.
Do you suspect your child has a disability?
Parents who suspect their child has a disability are advised to contact their local school district, talk with their child's teacher or school principal, or contact the SELPA.
General Education Prereferral Interventions
There are general education options for addressing your child's needs. All California core curricular materials and textbooks have a variety of strategies for "differentiation" to address different learning styles. Additionally, teachers have access to multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS). Talk to your child's teacher about possible strategies or supports.
In addition, all schools have a problem-solving team of educators who meet regularly to discuss strategies for their students who continue to struggle. The team is called a Student Study Team or "SST". Ask your child's teacher about a referral to the school's SST team.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
504 and ADA are civil rights laws that guarantee that "no otherwise qualified person shall be excluded solely on the basis of disability." This means schools must identify students who have disabilities and provide support and services to ensure these students have the opportunity to access all programs and activities despite their disabilities.
Examples of disabilities that are addressed by 504 plans include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), diabetes, asthma, depression, and health-related issues.
For additional information about Child Find, please contact the Special Education Department or SELPA Office.