Pompton Lakes Department of Special Services(973) 835-7100316 Lakeside Ave, Pompton Lakes NJ 07442Special Education Programs and Services
Special education programs and services are provided for students classified as educationally disabled from preschool, ages three to five, through senior high school (age 21). The district child study team provides diagnostic evaluations of the individual child, interpretation of findings to parents and staff, placement of pupils for whom a specialized program may be necessary, remedial instruction, speech therapy, and other related services. Requests for evaluations can be made if a student is suspected of having a disability.
A referral is a written request for an evaluation that is given to the school district when a child is suspected of having a disability and might need special education and related services. In most instances, the student suspected of having a disability should first be referred to the Intervention and Referral Services Team. If as a result of the interventions recommended by the team, the student continues to experience difficulties in the general education classroom, the I&RS Team will determine the next course of action, which could include amending the Action Plan, determining 504 eligibility, or referring the student to the Child Study Team for evaluation.
Intervention and Referral Services (I and RS)
When students are not making progress in the general education setting, intervention strategies may begin with a conference with the teacher, principal, and/or the school-based intervention team, called the Intervention and Referral Services Team (I and RS).
In some cases, the intervention trialed may not be successful and a referral for special education to the Child Study Team may be initiated. Even in these cases, the prior period of intervention is valuable. Prior intervention is needed to document the effectiveness of the interventions will illustrate whether the referral is appropriate and it will help inform the Individual Educational Plan (IEP) team about strategies that have or have not produced success when it comes time to develop a more formal written plan for the IEP if found eligible.
Process and Timeline
Once a referral is acknowledged, a meeting needs to take place within twenty days from when the referral is received. The participants of the meeting are the parent(s), the classroom teacher, and the Child Study Team members. The Child Study Team consists of a learning disability teacher-consultant, school psychologist, and social worker. For a referral for a child between the ages of three and five, a speech therapist will be included in the meeting. A case manager is assigned upon the written request for an evaluation and an evaluation plan is developed. During the evaluation process, the student is considered to be potentially educationally disabled. The evaluation process may take as long as ninety days, involving the collection of data, test results, observations, interviews, and any other pertinent information that was agreed upon in the evaluation plan, and concluding in an eligibility determination meeting and, if eligibility criteria have been met, an Individualized Education Program developed with the IEP Team Members.IEP Eligibility Classification CategoriesUnder state and federal law, children with disabilities in any of the following categories, who are also found that the disability impedes on educational progress, and is in need of special education services or programs:✪ Deafness/hearing impairment✪ Autism✪ Cognitively impaired/mental retardation✪ Communication impaired/language disorder✪ Emotional Regulation Impairment✪ Multiply disabled (two or more equally disabling conditions)✪ Orthopedically impaired, including malformation or malfunction of bones, muscle or tissue✪ Other health impaired/chronically ill✪ Preschool disabled (ages 3-5)✪ Social maladjustment✪ Specific learning disability✪ Traumatic brain injury✪ Visually impaired.If a child has a) one of these disabilities, b) the disability is impacting upon educational, meaningful progress, and c) the student requires special education programs or services, they would be eligible under one of the above classifications as Eligible for Special Education and Related Services.If the disability is solely in Speech and Language, it is possible for a student to be found Eligible for Speech-Language Services.
The special services staff includes specialists in psychology, social work, learning disabilities, speech therapy, occupational and physical therapy, special education, reading, and supplementary instruction. Special Education programs can include: Self-contained Language/Learning Disabled Class programs, Out of Class and In-Class Resource programs, Preschool Disabled programs just to name a few. Additional evaluations, services, and programs are provided if recommended by the CST/IEP team. The Pompton Lakes School district also coordinates a joint autism program that includes the Pompton Lakes, Ringwood, and Wanaque School Districts in order to provide comprehensive Pre-K through 12th-grade public school programming for our students who present with autism spectrum disorders. More information regarding this program can be found by clicking on the Autism Program Tab.Child Find
In addition to a full continuum of special education programs and services, the district through its Child Find Project, helps to identify un-served and handicapped children three to five years of age. Parents are encouraged to contact the office of Special Services, if they have concerns about their child's development and whether a preschool program may be of benefit.
Project Child Find is a free referral service and public awareness campaign to assist in the identification of unserved/underserved youth with a delay or disability from birth through 21 years of age. It also develops and distributes information to the public about early intervention services and special education programs throughout New Jersey.
The toll-free number for Project Child Find is 800-322-8174.
Infants and Toddlers (Birth to Age 3):
If you are concerned that your infant or toddler is developing or learning differently, you can call an Early Intervention Service Coordinator. The number to call is toll-free 1-888-NJEIINFO. When you call, a service coordinator will talk with you about your concerns and offer referral information if needed. If a developmental evaluation is indicated, the service coordinator will work with you to schedule a multidisciplinary evaluation of your child's developmental levels and needs. This evaluation service is provided at no cost to parents. If appropriate, certain early intervention services may be recommended. The Pompton Lakes Public School District's Department of Special Services maintains Child Find procedures to locate and provide services for those children ages 3 to 5 who may have physical, mental, language or emotional difficulties. Information is also available on how and where to obtain services for special children, birth to 3 years.
CHILD FIND includes Parents of Migrant and Homeless Children
To see if your child qualifies or for more information, please write or call: (973) 835-7100 (x1540) * 316 Lakeside Ave, Pompton Lakes NJ 07442
Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC)
Pompton Lake's Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC) will meet three times a year, to discuss current topics in special education. Notifications of dates and times of the SEPAC meetings are posted on the district website and sent home to our families when appropriate; we will continue to hold these meetings via Zoom.
Activities & Events
We encourage you to view the appropriate school's web information for Events (if your child is not currently being educated at the school and you'd like to attend these events, please do not hesitate to contact us or the school directly), Media Center (some great websites and supports are available), PTA (please join as well in addition to our Special Education Parent Advisory Committee - SEPAC). As you can see, there are great benefits to viewing the website with your child.
How does an IEP differ from a 504 Plan?
As part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Congress passed Section 504. This civil rights law protects people with disabilities by eliminating barriers and allowing full participation in areas of life such as education and the workplace. Section 504 is intended to prohibit disability discrimination by recipients of federal financial assistance and by public entities.
A 504 Plan is for students who have a disability, have a record of a disability, or are treated as having a disability but do not qualify for special education services under IDEA. For example, let’s say that a child has cerebral palsy. If it does not interfere with the student’s progress in the general curriculum, however it does require the child to use special equipment to access his/her education, in such a case, this student would qualify for a 504 Plan.
It’s important to realize that eligibility under Section 504 isn't consolation for students who do not qualify for special education services under IDEA. Before deciding whether a student is eligible for this type of plan, the child must be assessed and the school team must agree that the child has a) a substantial and pervasive impairment and b) that it is impeding upon progress in the general education curriculum in order to be eligible for reasonable accommodations under this federal law.The purpose of a 504 Plan is to "level the playing field" and allow a child to get the accommodations and modifications needed to access the curriculum at the same level as his or her peers.