Special Education

East Haddam Public Schools Department of Pupil Services provides a variety of services and supports to ensure students with disabilities receive a free and appropriate public education. Students whose disability has a marked impact on their ability to learn and take advantage of the opportunities provided within the school setting and who are between the ages of three (3) and twenty-one (21) may be eligible for special education services. If you are a parent of a child who is three (3) or four (4) years old and you are concerned about their development, East Haddam Public Schools offers developmental screens on the 1stand 3rd Wednesday of each month during the school year. These screens are by appointment only. If you wish to schedule an appointment or have additional questions, please contact East Haddam Elementary School at 860-873-5076.  If you are a parent of a child under age three (3) and are concerned with your child’s development, please contact the Connecticut Birth-to-Three program at 211

Referral Process
Each school has developed a system of increasing supports within the general education environment to help students who may struggle with content. These systems are often referred to as Scientifically Researched Based Interventions (SRBI) or Response to Intervention (RtI). On occasion, students may continue to demonstrate great difficulty within the curriculum even with these supports. When this occurs, the school may make a referral to a Planning and Placement Team (PPT) meeting.

Additionally, at times, your child’s progress in school may be a concern for you. Parents and guardians are encouraged to communicate regularly with their child’s teachers and the building principals so that, as a team, we can meet your child’s needs. If you continue to be concerned, a parent or guardian is able to initiate the referral process by notifying the school in writing of your concerns. The district has developed a referral form to help communicate these concern to the school.

ED621 Referral to Determine Eligiblity for Special Education and Related Services

Once the school receives a referral to PPT from either a school staff member or parent/guardian, the school will schedule an initial PPT. This PPT must be held within ten (10) school days of receipt of the referral by the school, and parents are invited and are highly encouraged to attend as your input is critical in order for the team to best understand the needs of your child. The school will make every attempt to schedule this meeting at a time that is mutually agreeable, or make other provisions for your attendance while still meeting the mandated timeline. Other individuals who are required to attend and their purpose are listed below (A PPT cannot proceed without at least a Chairperson, Regular Education Teacher, and a Special Education Teacher):

PPT Chairperson – This individual serves as the recorder of the meeting and assists in the facilitation of the meeting. Often it is the building principal or other administrator, but can also be an individual who is able to make decisions on behalf of the school district, such as another teacher or educator.

Regular Education Teacher – This individual has an understanding of the student’s performance in school. For elementary aged children, this is often their primary classroom teacher, for middle school and high school children, this is one teacher the student has, and this teacher will have met with other teachers who work with the student to gain a thorough understanding of how the student performs in all classroom settings.

Special Education Teacher – This individual has an understanding of a variety of intervention strategies, accommodations, and supports that might be effective for your student. Additionally, if requested, this individual is trained to evaluated and interpret your students educational abilities that may give more information on how to best support your student.

School Psychologist – This individual may attend a PPT and is trained to understand how a student learns, and may provide strategies for the classroom teacher to use. Additionally, if requested, this individual is trained to evaluate many other areas such as a student’s cognitive abilities, processing abilities, as well as other areas that may impact a student’s educational performance.

Occupational Therapist (OT), Speech and Language Therapist (SLP), and/or Physical Therapist (PT) – These individuals may attend if the team has identified a concern in the areas associated with these individual’s expertise. At the meeting these staff members may offer suggestions to support the student in the classroom, and if requested, are trained to evaluate a variety of areas such as but not limited to fine and gross motor skills, receptive and expressive language, and sensory profiles.

As the name implies, the PPT is a team and the goal of the team is to work together to find strategies and supports to ensure your student receives the benefits provided to them through the educational process. Even though this meeting has many formal procedures which are dictated through state and federal regulations, it should be a conversation where each member feels comfortable to ask questions and provide insight and suggestions. At this meeting you will be provided with a variety of information about how your student is performing while at school, and you will have the opportunity to ask questions and to provide your insight and perspective. The team will discuss supports and strategies attempted and team members may suggest other supports and strategies. Primarily, the purpose of this meeting is to determine if the team has enough information to support the student. If the team believes that there is not enough information, then members may propose evaluations in order to gain this information. The school district must secure your permission prior to conducting the proposed evaluations. If you have any questions about what is proposed feel free to ask.

Once permission is secured for evaluation, the staff has forty-five (45) school days from receipt of referral to conduct the evaluations, provide the team a report, and hold a second PPT to review the results. Often this meeting will be held within thirty (30) days from receipt of referral. Parents have the right to review any and all evaluations conducted by the school, and discuss the results of these evaluations with the evaluator at least three (3) days prior to the PPT, the district highly encourages parents/guardians to exercise this right. The purpose of this PPT meeting is to review the information gleaned from the evaluations and determine if the student is able to be supported within the regular education environment alone, or if the student meets criteria for provisions of special education services and supports. If your student is deemed eligible for special education, the team will then discuss and build an Individual Education Plan (IEP). A student will not be placed into special education without the written permission of a parent or guardian. If you have any questions about special education, feel free to ask. 

For students deemed eligible for special education services federal and state regulations requires the PPT to meet annually to review progress toward the IEP goals and objectives, and to develop a new IEP. Additionally, every three (3) years, the PPT must re-determine eligibility for special education services. If a parent or guardian has any questions about how their child is doing in any area, please contact your student’s teacher to set up a parent-teacher meeting.

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