- Report Published -
|Assessing the Proper Use of Child Study Committees|
|Department of Education|
|HJR 469 (Regular Session, 1993)|
|The 1993 General Assembly House Joint Resolution No. 469 requested that the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) examine the use of child study for identifying and assessing the educational needs of children with attention deficit disorders (ADD). This request was a result of concerns raised that the Child Study Committee (CSC) addresses eligibility to special education testing and placement, that the CSC was not addressing the needs of students with attention deficit disorders, and that the proposed guidelines for child study developed by the VDOE had not been finalized. This legislative study, sponsored by Delegates Shirley F. Cooper and J. Paul Councill, Jr., specifically asked the VDOE for a study that would review and revise, if necessary, the current proposed guidelines for child study. These guidelines were to define the purpose of child study and provide information and guidance to school personnel on assessing the needs of children with ADD.|
After careful review and discussion with the sponsors of this legislative study, it was agreed that it was necessary for this study to be broader and would examine the way CSCs function in Virginia. The CSC is not disability specific; it functions to assist all students having problems in school. Additionally, the study looks at how the CSC is addressing the needs of children with ADD.
After careful review and discussion with the sponsors of this legislative study, it was agreed that it was necessary for this study to be broader and would examine the way CSC's function in Virginia. The CSC is not disability specific; it functions to assist all students having problems in school. Additionally, the study looks at how the CSC is addressing the needs of children with ADD or suspected of having ADD.
To this end, an interdisciplinary team including individuals representing child study committees, regular education, special education, pupil personnel services, parents, and others interested in CSC and ADD developed and carried out the study. To complete this study, the team:
• reviewed the 1986 VDOE document, "A Proposal for Child Study in Public Schools in the Commonwealth of Virginia", and
• conducted a telephone survey of a representative sample of elementary, middle and secondary schools to determine how the Child Study Committees function across Virginia and to determine what services are provided by the CSC for students with or suspected of having ADD.
It was the consensus of the interdisciplinary team that the guiding principles for the team as it reviewed the 1986 child study document and the current functioning of the CSC in Virginia should:
• be child centered,
• address the needs of children at-risk educationally and children having problems in school,
• emphasize the child's abilities as well as educational needs,
• emphasize the child's needs, not the characteristics of a given label,
• involve parents from the beginning,
• recognize the expertise of everyone in the child's environment,
• be based on "best" practices, and
• meet all legal requirements.
Six recommendations are made as a result of this study:
1. The Department of Education should recommend to the Board of Education that the Standards of Accreditation be amended to include the Child Study Committee as defined in Virginia's proposed special education regulations, "Regulations Governing Special Education Programs for Children with Disabilities in Virginia", January 1994.
2. The Department of Education should adopt and distribute the 1993 CSC document, "Procedures For Child Study Committees Operating In Virginia”, to all public schools, institutions of higher education with teacher training programs, parent resource centers, and other interested parties.
3. The Department of Education should develop an in-service and pre-service training program on CSC to enhance the document, "Procedures For Child Study Committees Operating In Virginia", and make this training package available to all public schools, institutions of higher education with teacher training programs, parent resource centers, and other interested parties.
4. The Department of Education should consider pilot sites to implement the procedures for CSC as defined in "Procedures For Child Study Committees Operating In Virginia". This will allow the Department the opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness of these procedures and revise them if needed.
5. The Department of Education should clarify through a Superintendent's Memo that the CSC may not conduct its own evaluations and/or screenings to make the determination of whether or not a child has a suspected disability. Rather, the CSC should review the existing performance evidence to make that determination. The memo should also stress that the CSC cannot request parents to have their child evaluated at their own expense if the CSC suspects a disability, including ADD. In addition, the CSC may not identify a disability. These are issues that may only be addressed through the evaluation process following the referral to the administrator of special education.
6. The Department of Education design and conduct research to increase understanding about the involvement of parents in the CSC process and the development and use of intervention plans.
Finally, since the sponsors of this study agreed that it needed to be broader than the original proposal and examine the way CSC's function in Virginia, there are no recommendations made relative to the identification and provision of services to students with ADD/ADHD only. However, the procedures delineated in the new CSC document, Appendix H, will provide guidance to schools in Virginia in identifying and addressing the needs of these students as well as other students having problems in school. Additionally, the VDOE is in the process of developing a pre-service and in-service training program on ADD/ADHD that will be completed in 1994. It will consist of eight video training modules with written materials and will be distributed to all school divisions, institutions of higher education with teacher training programs, and parent resource centers.