Child Find Campaign
The Richmond County School System offers a variety of free special education programs serving children from age 2 through 21 (inclusive). To locate those who are suspected of having a disability, the school system conducts an annual Child Find Campaign. Children with a disability who turn two on or before September 30, and who have not reached their 22nd birthday by that date, can be considered for these programs.
According to the Virginia Department of Education, Students may be found eligible for services in compliance with the regulations who meet the criteria for the following disabilities:
Developmental Delay: a disability affecting children ages 2 through 6 who experience a significant delay in physical, cognitive, communication, social, emotional, or adaptive development.
Autism: a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social integration, generally evident before age three. Other characteristics are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or changes in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences.
Deaf-Blindness: hearing and visual impairments occurring at the same time, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for children with deafness or children with blindness.
Deafness: a hearing impairment so severe that the child is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification, which adversely affects the child’s educational performance.
Hearing Impairment: impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but is not included under the definition of deafness in this section.
Intellectual Disability: significantly sub average general intellectual functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Multiple Disabilities: two or more impairments at the same time, the combination of which causes such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for one of the impairments. This term does not include Deaf-Blindness.
Orthopedic Impairment: a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g. club foot, absence of some member), impairments caused by disease (e.g. poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis), and impairments from other causes (e.g. cerebral palsy, amputations, and fractures or burns that cause contractures).
Other Health Impairment: having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that result in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that (i) due to chronic or acute health problems such as a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, arthritis, asthma, sickle-cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and diabetes; and (ii) adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Emotional Disability: a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects educational performance: an inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors; inability to build and maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers; inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances; a general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression or a tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems. The term does not apply to children who are socially maladjusted unless other serious emotional disturbances exist.
Specific Learning Disability: a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language, spoken or written, that may manifest in an imperfect ability to listen, write, spell, or do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not included learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities, of intellectual disabilities, emotional disabilities, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.
Speech and Language Impairment: a communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment or voice impairment that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
Traumatic Brain Injury: an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial functional disability, psycho-social impairment, or both that adversely affects a child’s educational performance. This can apply to head injuries that are congenital or degenerative, or brain injuries induced by birth trauma.
Visual Impairment (including Blindness): an impairment in vision that, even with correction adversely affects a child’s educational performance. This term includes both partial sight and blindness.
Early warning signs of these disabilities include delays in reaching developmental milestones in early childhood such as trouble sitting, standing, walking, talking, seeing, hearing, learning or paying attention. Early intervention helps children with disabilities have a better chance to develop.
Special services for identifying and treating children suspected of having disabilities are free and available through Richmond County Public Schools. In order to identify and place a child with a disability, the county follows an evaluation process. A child is referred by a teacher, parent, physician, or outside agency to a special education administrator and/or child study committee which then gathers information about the child from teachers and the person who made the referral.
The committee reviews the information and determines if there is a need to have a formal evaluation and if so, written consent is sought from the parent/guardian. Parents are informed of their rights and procedural safeguards including due process. A formal evaluation, which is free to the parents, may include educational and psychological assessments, medical and social histories, vision and hearing screenings, and speech and language screening. A committee, including parents and school personnel, meet to consider the results of the evaluations. Special education and related services are provided to students who are evaluated and meet eligibility criteria. Related services, which may include speech and language therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and transportation are provided as required to help the student benefit from special education.
Those who think they may know a child with a disability or have questions about the process, may contact Sandra Hedrick, Director of Special Education, at the Richmond County School Board office at firstname.lastname@example.org, a school counselor, school administrator, or classroom teacher.