• Accessing Special Education Services

    Onslow County schools works locally as part of the Child Find Project which identifies youth who have been diagnosed or suspected of having mental, physical, or emotional disabilities and are unable to benefit from a regular school program without specially designed instruction. 

    What is Project Child Find?

    Child Find is an effort coordinated by Onslow County Schools (Exceptional Children Division) and NCDPI to:

    • Locate and identify children and youth ages birth through 21 with disabilities who are in need of special education and related services. 
    • Inform parents and/or guardians of the services available from their local school system and other state and community agencies.  

    Who are the Children?

    Children and youth who have been diagnosed or are suspected to have intellectual, physical, or emotional disabilities and are unable to benefit from a regular school program without special assistance. 

    What Help is Available?

    A complete evaluation and, if appropriate, the following assistance is available:

    • An Individualized Education Program for children with a disability beginning at age three,
    • An Individualized Family Service Plan for each child with a disability birth through 2, or
    • A referral to other agencies when needed.

    Special Education Process 

    Once a referral has been received by the school, a team will meet to review data to determine the next steps. This is called a referral meeting.  If the team feels that there is enough evidence to suspect a disability, then testing will be requested to start the evaluation process.  Testing that will be completed depends on what areas of disability are suspected.

    North Carolina recognizes the following areas for special education services: 

    • Autism Spectrum Disorder 
    • Deaf/Blindness 
    • Deaf 
    • Developmental Delay 
    • Serious Emotional Disability 
    • Hearing Impairment 
    • Intellectual Disability 
    • Multiple Disabilities 
    • Orthopedic Impairment 
    • Other Health Impairment 
    • Specific Learning Disability 
    • Speech Language Impairment 
    • Traumatic Brain Injury 
    • Visual Impairment 

    *Dyslexia is recognized under Specific Learning Disabled 

    When testing is completed, the team will come back together to review the results. At this time the team will use the testing to determine if a disability exists and whether it requires specially designed instruction to make progress in the general education curriculum.  This is the eligibility meeting.  If no evidence of a disability is found, then a student does not qualify, and the process stops. 

    If the team determines that there is a disability and specialized instruction is needed to make progress, the team will write an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for the student stating goals to work on along with how and where the services will be provided.  This plan is reviewed at least once a year. Every three years testing and progress is reviewed to determine if new testing is needed to continue making appropriate decisions for your child.

    More Information

    For further information regarding Child Find or if you suspect your child has delays in speech, academics, motor, behavior or self-help skills, please contact your child’s home school or the Exceptional Children Department at 910-455-2211 to request an evaluation for consideration of services.