An Informative Guide to the Role of Parents/
Guardians in the CST Evaluation Process
What is a CST?
A Child Study Team (CST) is a team of professionals designed to
evaluate children for special education services. The basic CST consists
of a school psychologist, a learning disabilities/teacher-consultant,
school social worker, and (for preschool students) a speech-language
What can I expect at the Initial Intake Meeting?
Within twenty (20) calendar days of receipt of the written parent
referral, the CST will schedule an initial intake meeting. The meeting
should consist of the parents/guardians, as well as the entire CST. The
purpose of this meeting is for you to meet the team and allow them to
become familiar with your child. The CST will decide whether or not an
evaluation of your child is necessary. Parental consent for the
evaluation must be received before testing begins; it may be given that
same day. Please feel free to ask the team questions as your
understanding of the process will enable you to be more informed.
Can you give me an overview of the Evaluation Process?
If an evaluation is warranted after the intake meeting, the CST has 90
days to complete their assessments and hold the eligibility meeting. An
evaluation may consist of the following components: psychological
evaluation by the school psychologist, evaluation of learning strengths
and needs by the learning consultant, speech and language evaluation by a
speech pathologist, and a social history assessment with the
parent/guardian(s) by the school social worker. The results of this
testing will be documented and you will receive a copy of this report
before the final meeting. Within 90 days, the eligibility meeting will
be held to discuss results of the testing and determine your childs
eligibility for services. If your child is determined eligible, an
Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be developed.
Parent/guardian consent to the IEP must be given before services can
What services are available for my preschooler if found eligible?
A full continuum of services shall be made available to meet the needs
of the identified preschool student ranging from integrated community
programs to a special class, depending on the individual needs of the
child. If determined necessary, related services may be included in your
childs IEP. Some children are also eligible for extended school year
What is the role of the parent/guardian in the evaluation process? You
know your child better than anyone; therefore, your role as
parents/guardians is to provide the CST with as much information about
the social, emotional, language, and cognitive development as possible.
The CST will need your assistance in making sure they have the most
comprehensive picture of your child so the appropriate level of support
may be given. Becoming an advocate for your child is the best way to
play a valuable role in the evaluation process. If your child is
determined eligible for services and you wish to proceed with
implementing the IEP, you will need to register your child with the
school district. When registering your child, which is required before
they begin preschool, the following information will be needed: childs
birth certificate, immunization records, and two (2) proofs of residency
(any residency questions should be directed to the assistant
superintendent for business).
- Case Manager - A school district employee who coordinates meetings with you and
appropriate school staff members. The case manager also serves as your
contact when you have questions regarding your childs special education
program and services.
- Child Study Team Evaluation - A way of collecting information about your childs special learning
needs, strengths, and interests. An evaluation is used to help make
decisions about whether your child is eligible for special education.
The evaluation will include administering individual tests, observing
your child, a review of records, talking with you and your child. The
evaluation may include the following: an educational assessment, health
appraisal, psychological assessment, social assessment, a
speech/language assessment, and any other pertinent medical evaluations.
- Individualized Education Program (IEP) - This is a written plan that details what the child will be taught and
documents what will actually be provided to the child through special
education and related services.
- Preschool Disabled - Children ages three to five, with an identified disabling condition
and/or measurable developmental impairment, who require and would
benefit from special education and related services.
- Related Services - Services which children with educational disabilities require to
benefit from their educational programs. Related services include the
following: counseling the child, counseling or training the parents
about the educational needs of their child, speech-language therapy,
occupational therapy, physical therapy, transportation or recreation, as
well as other appropriate services which the child needs to benefit
from an education as required by their IEP.
Special Education - Instruction and needed related services modified or designed, at no
cost to parents/guardians, to meet individual needs of a child with
disabilities, including instruction in classrooms, homes, hospitals, and