Child Find program helpsspecial needs children getunique education services

Special to the Altus Times

School districts in and around Altus are using a Child Find program to identify any child or youth who may have a disability that requires special education services.

The intent is to ensure appropriate public education for young people from birth to 22 years old, who are not currently receiving special education and related services.

Workers in the school districts aim to to provide an appropriate public education at no cost to the parents of the child or youth.

State policies and procedures for special education describe children and youth with disabilities as those who have hearing impairments, vision impairments, an emotional disturbance; deafness, blindness or both; specific learning disabilities, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, speech and/or language impairments, physical disabilities, autism or traumatic brain injuries.

In addition, children and youth with any disability which substantially limits a major life activity may receive modifications and accommodations to allow them access to an appropriate education, according to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as amended.

Parents, relatives, private agency employees and concerned citizens are urged to help area school districts find any infant, toddler, child or youth who may have a disability and need special education and related services. The school district will need to know the name, age, date of birth of the child or youth, and the name, address and telephone number of the child’s parents or guardians, the possible disability, and any other relevant information to help determine if special education is needed.

Letters and telephone calls are some of the ways the school districts collect the information needed. The information the school districts collect will be used to contact the parents or guardians of the child or youth to find out if the child or youth needs to be evaluated or referred for special education services.

For information, contact:

* Diane Chowning at Altus Schools at 580-481-3088,

* Patricia Bryce at Navajo High School Junior High School or Johnna Brown at Navajo Elementary School at 580-482-7742,

* Tracy Slippey at Eldorado School at 580-633-2219,

* Melvin Hazel at Olustee School at 580-648-2243 or

* Duke School at 580-679-3019.

As part of the child find efforts, the school districts may use screening information, student records and basic assessment information collected on all children and youth in their districts to help locate those children and youth who have a disability and need special education.

Educational records containing personally identifiable information collected by schools in the identification, location, screening, and evaluation of children are maintained in accordance with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act or FERPA and the Oklahoma State Policies and Procedures for Special Education in Oklahoma.

School districts develop and implement local policies regarding the collection, storage, disclosure and destruction of confidential student records. Parents may obtain a copy of the local policy from the local school administrator.

The rights of parents and children regarding personally identifiable information in accordance with FERPA are:

* To inspect the student’s education records;

* To request the amendment of education records to ensure that they are not inaccurate, misleading, or in violation of the student’s privacy or other rights;

* To consent to disclose education records, except where consent is not required to authorize disclosure;

* To file complaints with the Family Policy Compliance Office, United States Department of Education, Washington, D.C. 20202, concerning alleged violations of the requirements of FERPA; and

* To obtain a copy of the FERPA policy adopted by the local school district upon request being made to the local school administrator.

Before any major identification, location or evaluation, schools shall provide notice to parents. Accommodations for other languages or means of communication may be provided upon request. Such notice shall occur at least annually and shall include the rights of parents under FERPA.

The school districts do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability or veteran status.

Special to the Altus Times

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