CHILD FIND: Referral, Evaluation, and Eligibility Determination
Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all public schools have an affirmative responsibility to identify and serve students with disabilities. The process of identifying and evaluating students with suspected disabilities is called "child find."
This evaluation process may determine that your child has a disability requiring a 504 plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP). All students with IEPs have rights under Section 504. While 504 plans may focus on accessibility accommodations resulting from the student's disability that do not change learning expectations and course content, IEPs spell out both accommodations and modifications/specially designed instruction required due to the unique needs of a child with a disability.
Billings Public Schools utilizes a robust "Multi-Tiered Systems of Support." This MTSS process can help determine if a student's needs are the result of a suspected disability versus an instructional mismatch. Students who respond positively to interventions may have needed short-term intensive interventions, as opposed to sustained disability related modified instruction and supports. While the practice of applying structured, intensive interventions may be helpful, such interventions may not unduly delay a referral and evaluation for special education.
If you suspect that your child may have a disability, please express this concern to your child's teacher, school counselor or psychologist, and/or principal. We will respond to your request by determining:
- The need to design structured MTSS interventions.
- The need to proceed with an evaluation and eligibility determination under IDEA and/or Section 504; or
- The need to run new or different interventions concurrent with a formal evaluation.