What is a referral?


What is a referral?

When the Special Education process begins, an initial referral for an evaluation is made. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) and corresponding New York State Regulations have made significant changes with respect to the initial referral process, including the initial referral source. Only specific people may make a referral for an initial evaluation, while different individuals may make something called a "Request for Initial Evaluation." This new process is outlined below.

The first step in determining if your child has a disability and if he or she requires special education services is to request an evaluation. This initial referral must be in writing and may be made by you or a designated school district official.

Ways for you to request an initial evaluation for your child:

  • Send a letter to the principal at your child's public school or to the local CSE Office requesting an evaluation;
  • Give a written statement to a professional staff member of your child's school;
  • Ask a school professional to assist you in making a referral.

Who else can make an initial referral?

  • A school district official, which means the principal of the public school in the district in which your child resides, legally attends or is eligible to attend, or the CSE Office Chairperson if the student is non-attending or attending parochial, charter or private school;
  • The commissioner or a public agency official who is responsible for the education of your child;
  • An official of an education program affiliated with a child-care institution with CSE responsibility.

Who can make a request for initial referral?

  • A professional staff member of the school district in which your child resides or the public or private school your child legally attends or is eligible to attend;
  • A licensed physician;
  • A judicial officer;
  • A professional staff member of a public agency with responsibility for welfare, health or education of the child;
  • A student who is 18 years of age or older, or an emancipated minor.