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Risk Factors and Children not Referred for Special Education Until After Kindergarten Entry –or— The Child Find Study Cynthia Paris and Michael Gamel-McCormick Center for Disabilities Studies University of Delaware December 7, 2004 Why this study? Why now?

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slide1

Risk Factors and Children not Referred for Special Education Until After Kindergarten Entry

–or—

The Child Find Study

Cynthia Paris and Michael Gamel-McCormick

Center for Disabilities Studies

University of Delaware

December 7, 2004

why this study why now
Why this study? Why now?
  • Delaware Department of Education and Local School Districts reported anecdotal occurrences of children entering kindergarten in need of special education services but not having been identified for Part B, Section 619 services
  • Part C personnel were concerned about children exiting early intervention services and not being found eligible for preschool IDEA services
study charge
Study Charge
  • The Delaware Department of Education charged the Center for Disabilities Studies with the following:
    • Determine who is being referred for special education services after kindergarten entry
    • Determine what developmental and family characteristics those children had prior to kindergarten entry
    • Determine what opportunities those children and families had for interacting with possible referral agents
oversight and advisory
Oversight and Advisory
  • An advisory committee was formed of:
    • Three Department of Education personnel (Director of Special Education, Section 619 Coordinator, and a data specialist)
    • Two local school district special education directors
    • Department of Services to Children, Youth, and their Families representative
    • A family member
    • Three researchers from the University of Delaware Center for Disabilities Studies
original research questions
Original Research Questions
  • Who are the children who were referred for special education services prior to kindergarten?
  • Could they have been identified in need of special education services prior to kindergarten?
  • Why were these children not identified prior to kindergarten?
  • If these children received early intervention services (Part C services), why were they dismissed from services and not found eligible for Section 619 services?
theoretical framework of child s experiences
Theoretical Framework of Child’s Experiences

Health Care

Community

Early Care and Education

Community Services

Family

Child

School District

slide7

Figure X: The Process of Accessing Support to Address Concerns About Children’s Development

Concern

Raised

Opportunities for Referrals

Process and Sequence for Addressing Develop-mental Concerns of Young Children

Information Sought

Options Identified to Assess Concern

Assessment

Conducted

Options Identified to Address Concern

Opportunities for Responses

Concern Addressed with an Intervention

sample selection
Sample Selection
  • Records for special education referrals for the students from 1999-2002 reviewed;
  • All students found eligible for special education during those years who were in K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th grade and had never been received special education services before were included in the population definition
  • Students identified as moderate or low income by food program eligibility
  • Random sample of students selected from each of the four grade levels and low or moderate income levels resulting in 83 students in the sample
measurements
Family Interview

Family narrative of history of child’s development

Services child received

Concerns expressed by the family

Sources of information about child development

School Records

Division of Family Services records

DE Department of Education Services and records

State human services data base review

Department of Public Health data base review

Review of children’s medical files

Review of children’s early care and education experiences

Measurements
students profile n 67
Students’ Profile (N=67)

Gender

43.3% Female (29)

56.7% Male (38)

Grade

K: 14.9% (10)

1st: 20.9% (14)

2nd: 20.9% (14)

3rd: 25.4% (17)

4th: 17.9% (12)

Free/Reduced Lunch

64.2% Eligible (43)

35.8% Not eligible (24)

students profile n 6711
Students’ Profile (N=67)

Localities

52.2% New Castle County (35) (primarily suburban)

16.4% Wilmington (11) (primarily urban)

19.4% Kent County (13) (primarily rural)

11.9% Sussex County (8) (a mixture of suburban and rural)

findings
FINDINGS

Section I:

Children’s experiences prior to school entry (N=67)

  • Family Context
  • Contacts with Professional Community
family context
Family Context
  • Family Configuration
  • Potential Sources of Family Stress
  • Sources of Child Development Information
slide17

Family Configurations

*A stable household was one were the adults did not change during the children’s first five years of life

Even in households that were transitioning, there was at least one adult who was stable during the child’s first five years of life.

slide18

Family Stressors*

*Stressors included but were not limited to family violence, divorce, drug use, custody challenges and child abuse complaints.

contact with professional communities
Contact with Professional Communities
  • Health Care Providers
  • Community Service Providers
  • Early Care and Education Community
  • School Districts
contact with professional communities23
Contact with Professional Communities

Community Service Providers

  • The Women Infants and Children Program
  • Division of Family Services
slide25

Division of Family Services Contacts—Age of First Contact

*14 of the 67 families had contact with the Division of Family Services (21%)

slide26

Division of Family Services Contacts—Days of Service

*14 of the 67 families had contact with the Division of Family Services (21%)

contact with professional communities30
Contact with Professional Communities

School Districts

  • School District Evaluation Services
  • Child Find Screening
section ii children s and families experiences when a concern is expressed n 23
Section II:Children’s and Families’ Experiences When a Concern is Expressed (N=23)
  • Recognition of Concern
  • Response to Concern
slide39

Figure X: The Process of Accessing Support to Address Concerns About Children’s Development

83 children.

67 children without services.

39 with a concern raised by their families.

23 children whose families had a response to their concerns.

6 children who had an assessment.

16 children receiving services.

Concern

Raised

Information Sought

Options Identified to Assess Concern

Experiences of the 87 children in the study

Assessment

Conducted

Options Identified to Address Concern

Concern Addressed with an Intervention

discussion of findings
Discussion of Findings
  • Language – Vocabulary of Concerns
  • Potential Leverage Points (opportunities for referrals and responses)
    • Early Care and Education
    • Health Care Providers
    • Community Services
summary
Summary
  • Families and extended family members identify concerns but more often than not did not have their concerns responded to or addressed
  • When an assessment of children’s development did take place, families were still told to “wait,” “their development is normal,” or check their children’s development again in kindergarten
  • Almost ALL children have at least one primary extra-familiar contacts that could make referrals to schools or other programs (e.g., medical, social service, and early care and education programs)
implications
Implications
  • With collaboration between families and professional communities, children could be referred earlier and services secured
  • This calls for a change in the professional culture regarding children’s development and linking to services; the protocols professionals use for referring children and their families need to be updated
proposed professional protocols for referral
Proposed Professional Protocols for Referral
  • Listen to, respond to, and value families’ information about their children’s development
  • Making the default action further assessment and examination rather than waiting
  • Immediately providing informal intervention strategies and supports to the family in response to their stated concerns, while more formal interventions are secured (if needed)
proposed professional protocols for referral continued
Proposed Professional Protocols for Referral (continued)
  • Help connect families as early as possible with informal and formal supports and services; again, rather than waiting to see what happens with their children’s development
  • Training to begin a cultural shift in our professional communities to embrace the role of early identification, provision of supports, and referral to formal sources for assessment and intervention