Special Education Referral Process


Interview of special needs teacher (SNT) about referrals for special education:

  • How is a student identified for special education (SE) referral?

– Student will be observed for couple of month to see if student difference in performance persists. Finding student history can be very helpful (background, previous studying places and performance, their previous teachers can be contacted)

Student can be considered for SE referral on the parent personal demand.

Student care team discusses final decision. Team normally consist of School Counselor, Special Needs Teacher, different teachers who knows the student (like subject teachers) .

Before admitting student to referral school need to gain parents permit ion to go through the process.

Also information on student observation and performance needs to be collected and organized in order to be presented to psychologist.

  • Who takes responsibility for the progress of the child before and after the referral?

-Responsibility is shared between main teacher (subject teachers) and SNT.

Main teacher provides accommodations within class instruction and test conditions, with help and consultation of SNT who suggest the way to accommodate and as well provides modifications for student in a class or in a separate time /place .

  • What is the school administration’s directive for special education?

Special Needs Students are welcomed to the school and supported. School tries to do the best job to meet needs of such a student. There is a special needs teacher and counselor in a school, they help with student accommodation.

Sometimes if learning disabilities are more severe student do not feet in a normal classroom environment. In that case school provide information and means to redirect student to specialized school.

  • What provisions are made for students identified for special education?

Modifications and accommodations are very individual depending on a student demands and needs.

Once student referred to special needs the IEP (Individual Education Program) will be created. In that plan exact modifications and accommodations will be listed. Some common examples: use of extra time for student, small groups or 1×1 instructions, read out instructions as part of accommodation.

  • What is the level of parent involvement in referral process and special education?

Parents have to authorize the process of referral.

Parents are invited for discussion and explanation about student case and have to agree to proceed farther.

Parents can be ask to participate in investigation, observation and providing information about student behavior, they can be asked to feel a questioner.

Psychologist shall do the referral in the mother tongue, it sometimes present difficulty in case of rare language. Parents can help to locate one.

What includes in IEP?

Can be different in different country.

In US it is a legal detailed documents between school, state and parents.

IEP Describes disabilities and setting goals and objectives and methods of accommodation provided with timeline and time amounts to be spend or a student.

Where do you find a source of patience to work with those special kids all the time?

To be a successful SNT and teacher in general you need to be very empathetic person. Once you understand and share emotional state with kids once you know that their world is real and you can make it better for them it gives you a power to go on.

Interview teachers who have referred students, for their perspective on the referral process.

  • How do you identify a student for special education?

-Through out observations, daily instructions, formative and informal assessments.

-Noticing differences, delays in performances and various struggles with learning process.

  • What are the signs of a struggling student?

-Luck of listening comprehension, verbal and written expression.

-Problems in processing information

– Signs of bad memory level

-Difficulties in socializing , inappropriate behavior , immatureness

  • Are there alternate methods of instruction tried out before referring the student for special education? If yes, what are they?


Teacher can try various strategies such as incorporation of visual examples, use of audio books, podcasts, vocabulary lists, and timetable charts, peer tutorials…

Overviewing the interview I shall underline the importance of all teachers in paying attention to possible learning disabilities or other need of students in a class who need special attention. Referral to the special needs is a serious process and that is why it is important to test out different learning strategies for students before concluding of referral. in many cases individualizing approach within a normal class process can be sufficient for some troubled students. I though that idea of peer instructions is really great as students can understand each other better and can help one another in a friendly and efficient way. Instructors students can also give a fit back to the teacher about their understanding of troubled student problem may be in more intuitive way. But figuring out the depth of the problem early on and addressing it ASAP can be a crucial for student development.

Collaboration in special needs is very important part of success, making collective collaborative observations and decisions increase the objectivity and quality.

I did not ask specifically about use of technology in the school where I took the interview, but the teacher did mention use of podcasts as one of the favorite additional help.

May be school one do not need to come in a full form to all schools. Through education about various help of technology for students will help teachers to be more efficient in their help to students and in setting more specific accommodations.

It was not surprising to figured that role of parents is very important in a referral process and in further support of the student. To avoid the situation when parents prefer to hide their kids rather them let them be helped shall be eliminated by education them and general public. Websites and other forms of information for parents about special needs shall be presented to all the parents to raise general awareness and understanding of their own or and other kids special needs.


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