VSA New Jersey, the State Organization on Arts and Disability, Arts Achievement Awards 2016 Application Guide – VSA New Jersey, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the creative power of people with disabilities, is accepting applications for its 2016 Student Arts Excellence Awards and Education in the Arts Awards. Awards are presented to students with special needs ages 14 through 21, not to exceed the 12th grade level, who demonstrate outstanding achievement in and commitment to one art form. Awards are also presented to arts educators, administrators, and individuals who have shown outstanding commitment to fostering arts education for students with disabilities. Applications are available here: www.vsanj.org.
What is a CST? A Child Study Team (CST) is a team of professionals designed to evaluate children for special education services. The basic CST consists of a school psychologist, a learning disabilities/teacher-consultant, school social worker, and (for preschool students) a speech-language specialist.
What can I expect at the Initial Intake Meeting? Within twenty (20) calendar days of receipt of the written parent referral, the CST will schedule an initial intake meeting. The meeting should consist of the parents/guardians, as well as the entire CST. The purpose of this meeting is for you to meet the team and allow them to become familiar with your child. The CST will decide whether or not an evaluation of your child is necessary. Parental consent for the evaluation must be received before testing begins; it may be given that same day. Please feel free to ask the team questions as your understanding of the process will enable you to be more informed.
Can you give me an overview of the Evaluation Process? If an evaluation is warranted after the intake meeting, the CST has 90 days to complete their assessments and hold the eligibility meeting. An evaluation may consist of the following components: psychological evaluation by the school psychologist, evaluation of learning strengths and needs by the learning consultant, speech and language evaluation by a speech pathologist, and a social history assessment with the parent/guardian(s) by the school social worker. The results of this testing will be documented and you will receive a copy of this report before the final meeting. Within 90 days, the eligibility meeting will be held to discuss results of the testing and determine your childs eligibility for services. If your child is determined eligible, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be developed. Parent/guardian consent to the IEP must be given before services can begin.
What services are available for my preschooler if found eligible? A full continuum of services shall be made available to meet the needs of the identified preschool student ranging from integrated community programs to a special class, depending on the individual needs of the child. If determined necessary, related services may be included in your childs IEP. Some children are also eligible for extended school year services.
What is the role of the parent/guardian in the evaluation process? You know your child better than anyone; therefore, your role as parents/guardians is to provide the CST with as much information about the social, emotional, language, and cognitive development as possible. The CST will need your assistance in making sure they have the most comprehensive picture of your child so the appropriate level of support may be given. Becoming an advocate for your child is the best way to play a valuable role in the evaluation process. If your child is determined eligible for services and you wish to proceed with implementing the IEP, you will need to register your child with the school district. When registering your child, which is required before they begin preschool, the following information will be needed: childs birth certificate, immunization records, and two (2) proofs of residency (any residency questions should be directed to the assistant superintendent for business).