Early Intervention and Transition to Preschool
The New Jersey Early Intervention System, under the Division of Family Health Services, implements New Jersey's statewide system of services for infants and toddlers from birth to age three having developmental delays or disabilities. Parents who believe that their infant or toddler may be experiencing developmental delays, can make a refenal by calling the Regional System Point of Entry toll free number at 1-888-653-4463. lf found to be eligible, various services can be provided to the family and child.
For children receiving Early Intervention services the transitional process to preschool special education is facilitated by the Early Intervention service coordinator and begins 190 days (6 months) prior to the child turning 3 years of age. At 190 days, the school district is notified in writing by the service coordinator that the child will begin the transitional process from Early Intervention to Preschool Special Education. The district is then invited to attend a Transitional Planning Conference (TPC), typically at the child's home. A representative from the elementary level Child Study Team attends the TPC meeting to represent the school district and to share information regarding the transitional process, as well as, to review the preschool special education programs and related services provided by the district.
The State then generates an official referral to the school district 120 days (4 months) prior to the child's birthday at which time the district has 10 days to contact the parents and 20 days to schedule the initial identification planning meeting. The initial planning meeting is held with members of the Child Study Team and a general education teacher to document the parent concerns and reason for referral, as well as, to discuss the testing process and district programs. The parent sometimes requests that the Early Intervention service coordinator and/or service providers be invited to the initial planning meeting, but it is not mandatory that they attend .
Given the child is referred to the district within the above timelines, the Child Study Team must complete testing and if eligible, implement an appropriate educational program (via Individualized Education Plan) to begin on the day of the child 's third birthday. The child ages out of the Early lntervention Program the day before they turn 3 years of age and essentially should begin preschool special education if eligible on the day they turn 3 to prevent any gap in services.
Project Child Find Information
The Special Services Department of the Sparta School district, in compliance with Project Child Find, conducts evaluations, if warranted, for those children and/or adult students who may have learning problems in the areas of cognition, communication, social and emotional, and motor functioning. The evaluations are available to preschool children aged 3-5, to highly mobile students such as migrant and homeless students, and to students who may have a disability although they are advancing from grade to grade.
For more information on Project Child Find, contact the Special Services Department at 973.729-3165. The New Jersey Department of Education also has information on their website at http://www.state.nj.us/education/specialed/childfind/.
The District Child Study Team(s) consists of a School Psychologist, a Learning Disabilities Teacher/Consultant, and a School Social Worker. For pupils age three to five, the Child Study Team shall include a Speech and Language Specialist.
The Child Study Team members will develop, monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of each individualized education program. Preventative and support services will be provided to non-disabled students as needed. Child Study Team members will deliver related services to students with a disability as indicated in their Individualized Education Program (IEP).
For students experiencing difficulty in the classroom, the Child Study Team members will provide services to the general education staff, which include techniques, materials, and programs at the request of the school-based Intervention and Referral Services (I&RS) team. These services can include consultation with school staff and parents, as well as designing, implementing, and evaluating techniques/strategies to prevent and/or remediate classroom difficulties.