Referral Process for Speech, Hearing, and/or Vision

Community Services

1.  Teacher, Parent, Act89 Teacher, School Counselor and/or Principal may identify a problem regarding speech, hearing and/or vision.  (Possible disability and the student may be in need of special education services.)

2.  Members of the NEIU Service Department will contact the school to access more information and begin the collection of data as it pertains to the student.  Examples of data may include, but not be limited to: classroom observations, Dibels data/progress monitoring data, behavior screening, speech and language screening, reading assessments, terra nova scores, health records,etc.(Level 1 and 2 screenings)

3.  Principal coordinates a meeting with the professionals necessary to assist in making decisions relevant to the student’s needs.  The purpose of this meeting is to review the data and determine whether whatever issues are present may be handled in the school by school personnel or to assist the parent through the evaluation process.

4.  If the team decides or if the parent requests that the child needs a full evaluation, we suggest that the parent contact the school district of residence to begin the evaluation process.  If the parent prefers to not use the public school, the IU will conduct a full evaluation.

5.  Once a request for information/data is received from either the public school or IU, the team will gather any additional information and forward it along with the previous data to the school district/IU.

6.  After the evaluation is complete, the school district will coordinate a meeting to offer FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education). If the parent chooses to continue receiving services in the non-public school, the principal may coordinate a multidisciplinary team meeting to discuss the findings of the evaluation.

Click Here to Access the Referral Form

This form may be completed by any person associated with the student in question.

Does Your Child Have Special Needs?

Is your child having difficulty in school?

Has your child been identified as needing special education services?

If you believe your child may have a disability and may be in need of special education services, an evaluation process to access your child’s needs is available to you at no cost through the school district in which you live or from the intermediate unit (IU) in which your private school is located. Special education often involves adapting materials and modifying instruction to better meet your child’s specific learning needs.

If you request these services,your child will receive an evaluation from a team of experts trained in assessing children. This team will determine if your child has a disability and if so, is in need of special education. You are an important member of your child’s evaluation team.

Before the school district of the intermediate unit proceeds with an evaluation, it will notify you in writing of the specific types of tests and procedures it plans to use, and of your rights throughout this process. The evaluation cannot be scheduled until you sign the written notice, indicating that you consent to the proposed testing and assessments, and return the notice to the school district of intermediate unit.

If, after an evaluation, your child is found to have a disability and to need special education, the public school will develop, with your participation, an Individualized Education Program (IEP). An IEP is a written document that specifically describes the services your child needs. The services in the IEP will be offered to your child in a public school-sponsored placement. If you wish to accept the offer,you will have to enroll your child in the public school. If you choose not to accept the program specified in the IEP, your child’s private school may still be eligible for certain services.

If your child has already been evaluated and offered services in an IEP, and you chose not to accept the services, communicate this to your child’s principal. Again, your child’s private school may still be eligible for certain services.

Certain services are available to students identified as eligible for special education who are unilaterally placed by their parents in private schools through a federal requirement called Equitable Participation (EP). In Pennsylvania, the IU is the agency responsible for the implementation of the federal requirement for EP.  EP requires that each IU, following a federal funding calculation, must expend a designated amount of federal IDEA funds on services and/or resources for students identified as eligible for special education services whose parents have unilaterally chosen to place their child in a private school. The IU is not required to offer the same services that would be offered as a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the public school. The IU is mandated those services determined by their annual consultation with their private school agencies. In circumstances where the allocation of funds for EP under the federal calculation is exhausted, the IU would cease to provide any EP services until the next fiscal year. The IU must participate annually in the notification, consultation, and collaboration with their private school agencies in their local geographic are as required under IDEA 2004 regulations§§300.130-300.144.

If you are interested in finding out more about the special education process, please speak with your child’s principal. For additional information,feel free to contact the school district in which you live, or the intermediate unit in which your child’s school is located.

Equitable services are services provided to parentally-placed private school children with disabilities in accordance with the provisions in IDEA and its implementing regulations at 34CFR §§300.130 through 300.144.

The regulations at 34 CFR§300.137(a) explicitly provide that children with disabilities enrolled in private schools by their parents do not have an individual right to receive some or all of the special education and related services they would receive if enrolled in the public schools. Under the Act, LEA’s only have an obligation to provide parentally-placed private school children with disabilities an opportunity for equitable participation in the services funded with Federal Part B dollars that the LEA has determined, after consultation, to make available to its population of parentally-placed private school children with disabilities.

The consultation process is important to ensure the provision of equitable services. Consultation among the LEA, private school representatives, and parent representatives must address how the consultation will occur throughout the school year so that parentally-place children with disabilities identified through child find can meaningfully participate in special education and related services will be provided for parentally-placed private school children with disabilities is determined during the consultation process.

Equitable services for a parentally-placed private school child with disabilities must be provided in accordance with a services plan. A services plan must describe the specific special education and related services that will be provided to a parentally-placed private school child with disabilities designated to receive services.


Child Find and Evaluation Process Questions and Answers

1. What educational agency has Child Find responsibilities for Equitable Participation (EP)?

A. For purposes of (Free Appropriate Public Education) FAPE, the school district of residence has child find responsibilities; whereas for purposes of equitable participation, the responsibility rests with the local education agency where the private school is located. In Pennsylvania this local education agency is the Intermediate Unit where the private school is located. It is conceivable that a parent could obtain evaluations from both entities.

2. Who makes the eligibility determination?

A. Eligibility is determined by a group of knowledgeable professionals and the parents for both FAPE and EP.For purposes of FAPE, the qualified professionals should be from the district of residence; for EP purposes, the qualified professionals should be from the IU where the private school is located.

3. What process is required when the parent is seeking FAPE?

A. (a) Evaluation; (b)Eligibility determination; (c) Offer of FAPE by the school district of residence; (d) Acceptance or refusal of FAPE by the parents.

4. What process is required when the parent is seeking EP only?

A. (a) Evaluation; (b)Eligibility determination; (c) Offer of EP may occur if the (Local Education Agency) LEA (IU in PA) has determined that the EP funds will be directed to direct service for an individual student, however, there is no entitlement to EP services for individual children; therefore, the sequence may end at step(b); (d) Acceptance or refusal of EP by the parents.

5. If the parent is undecided regarding EP or FAPE what would the process be?

A. The LEA (IU) must inform the parents of the child find process; PDE recommends use of the public information brochure developed by PaTTAN, King of Prussia available to all IUs. Once the parent understands the options, they are better prepared to make the choice between EP and FAPE.

6. Can parents insist that the school district of residence conduct an evaluation even if they know they do not want FAPE, and they indicate at the onset their intention is EP services at the private school?

A. A parent can request an evaluation from their school district of residence under any circumstances. The school district has the option of either conducting the evaluation or issuing a Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREP) declining to evaluate and offering the parents the opportunity to initiate due process proceedings. The resident district cannot refuse to evaluate a child because the child is attending a private school or because the IU also has a duty to evaluate the child.


Because theIDEA 04 and it’s final regulations provide for a proportionate amount offunding that is used to serve parentally-placed private school students, andsuch students have no individual right to special education, related services,or FAPE, the final regulations use the term “Services Plan” instead of the termIEP. The “Services Plan” is the document that sets forth the specific specialeducation and related services that the Intermediate Unit will provide to aneligible private school student who has been designated to receive specialeducation and related services under IDEA.

Once theIntermediate Unit has calculated the proportionate amount of funds that will bedesignated to provide IDEA services to eligible private school students,required consultation with private school representatives will take place todecide what services will be provided, which children will be receive services,how and where services will be provided and how services will be evaluated. Thenext step is the development of written plans that set forth the services thatdesignated private school students will receive from the Intermediate Unit.

Under thenew 34 CFR §300.455(b)(1), every private school student with a disability whohas been designated to receive IDEA services must have a services plan thatdescribes the specific special education and related services that theIntermediate Unit will provide. The services plan must be developed in the samemanner as IEPs are developed; with the additional requirement that theIntermediate Unit must ensure that a private school representative eitherattends the services plan meeting or provides input through other means. 34 CFR§300.454(C).

In addition,the services plan must indicate the location where public school services willbe provided to designated private school students, especially since this issuecan sometimes be the most controversial aspect of serving privately placed IDEAstudents. The services plan form should also show that a representative fromthe private school has either attended the services to be provided, how theywill be provided, and where they will be provided, among others.

Theregulations also indicate that, to the extent appropriate, the services plansmust be developed according to normal IEP procedures and meet general IEPcontent requirements, 34 CFR §300.455(b)(2)(ii) must be followed in developingservices plans.

Provision of Services Questions and Answers

1. What is aServices Plan?

A. AServices Plan means a written statement that describes the special educationand related services the LEA (IU) will provide to a parentally-placed childwith a disability enrolled in a private school who has been designated toreceive direct services, including the location of the services and anytransportation necessary.

2. Doesevery student getting direct EP services get a Services Plan?

A. Yes,every student getting direct EP services is required to have a Services Plan.

3. If achild is not getting a direct service should they have a Services Plan?

A. Ifthrough the timely and meaningful consultation between the private schools andthe LEA (IU) where the schools are located, EP includes services such asteacher consultation and/or professional development only; there would be noindividual services plan. These services would be outlined in the EP Servicesagreed to by the LEA (IU) and the private schools through timely and meaningfulconsultation.

4. What doesa Services Plan look like?

A. There isnothing in either IDEA 2004 or the 2006 implementing regulations thatspecifically describe the format of the Services Plan.

5. Can achild have a Services Plan and an IEP?

A. A childwould not have both and EP Services Plan and an IEP; and EP Services Plandescribes the EP services; while the IEP describes the FAPE. A child receivesEP services in a private school, whereas, FAPE is provided in a public schoolin most cases.

6. Once astudent receives EP Services, when may the services end?

A. A studentno longer receives EP services when he is no longer eligible for such services;when funds for EP Services are exhausted; or after timely and meaningfulconsultation with representatives of private elementary schools and secondaryschools and representatives of parents of parentally-placed private schoolchildren with disabilities, the LEA (IU) determines that it will no longeroffer the type of services that the student receives.

7. How oftenmust a student receiving EP services be re-evaluated?

A. A studentreceiving EP services must be re-evaluated following the same timelines forreevaluation as outlined in IDEA 2004 and its 2006 implementing regulations.

8. Does theLEA where the private school is located (IU) notify the district of residencethat a re-evaluation is needed?

A. No, the LEA where theprivate school is located (IU) is responsible for conducting the re-evaluation. In fact, the LEA (IU) would have to secure written consent to sharesuch information with the district of residence.


A developmental disabilitysignificantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and socialinteraction, generally evident before age 3 that adversely affects a child’seducational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism areengagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance toenvironmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses tosensory experiences.


Concomitant hearing and visualimpairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication andother developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated inspecial education programs solely for children with deafness or children withblindness.


A hearing impairment that is sosevere that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information throughhearing, with or without amplification, that adversely affects a child’seducation performance.


Defined as follows: (i) Theterm means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristicsover a long period of time and to marked degree that adversely affects achild’s educational performance:

Aninability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or healthrelated factors.

Aninability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships withpeers and teachers.

Inappropriatetypes of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.

Ageneral pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.

A tendency to develop physicalsymptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems,

(ii) The term includesschizophrenia. The term does not apply to children who are sociallymaladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.


An impairment in hearing,whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educationalperformance but that is not included under the definition of deafness in thissection.


A significantly sub-average generalintellectual functioning, that exists concurrently with deficits in adaptivebehavior and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affectsa child’s educational performance.


A concomitant impairments (suchas mental retardation-blindness, mental retardation-orthopedic impairment,etc.), the combination of which caused such severe educational needs that theycannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of theimpairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.


A severe orthopedic impairmentthat adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includesimpairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g., clubfoot, absence of somemember, etc.), impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bonetuberculosis, etc.), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy,amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures.

OtherHealth Impairment

Having limited strength,vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmentalstimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educationenvironment, that –(i) is due to chronic or acute health problems such asasthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia,nephritis, rheumatic fever, and sickle cell anemia; and (ii) adversely affectsa child’s educational performance.

SpecificLearning Disability

Defined as follows:

General. The term means a disorder in one or more of thebasic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language,spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen,think, speak, read, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations, includingconditions such as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal braindysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia.

Disorders not included: The term does not include learning problems that areprimarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, of mentalretardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural, oreconomic disadvantage.

Speechor Language Impairment

A communication disorder, suchas stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voiceimpairment, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.

TraumaticBrain Injury

An acquired injury to the braincaused by an external physical force, resulting in total or partial functionaldisability or psychosocial impairment, or both, that adversely affects achild’s educational performance. The term applies to open or closed headinjuries resulting in impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition;language; memory; attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problemsolving; sensory, perceptual, and motor abilities; psychological behavior;physical functions; information processing; and speech. The term does not applyto brain injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuriesinduced by birth trauma.

VisualImpairment including Blindness

Impairment in vision, thateven with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. Theterm includes both partial sight and blindness.