HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Parents who suspect their children may have a disability can request a free special education evaluation called Child Find.
Alabama Department of Public Health defines Child Find as the process used in Alabama for identifying all children who may be eligible for services and referring them to Alabama’s Early Intervention System. It is an important step that provides families with the guidance and support they need to make on their own behalf.
You may not have heard of the Child Find mandate, but it is a legal requirement. Identifying kids who may need help is an important first step toward succeeding in school.
The Director for Huntsville City Schools’ Special Needs Services, Dr. Elizabeth Long says there is no harm in having a referral if you are concerned.
“Parents sometimes are concerned about the stigma or the label of special education and I always tell them the thing that we need to remember is special education is not a place, special education is a service that is provided,” said Dr. Long. “They are general education students first and always, and we are going to do everything we can to ensure and maximize their least restrictive environment.”
Child Find covers every kid from birth through age 21, including those who are homeschooled or in private school.
ADPH says there are three steps in the Child Find process:
- Identification – Children who may be in need of special help are identified by parents or by individuals within the community.
- Making a Referral – making a referral to Alabama’s Early Intervention System is as simple as making a phone call.
- Processing of a Referral – When a call is received by Child Find, the child’s name and other identifying information will be entered into the data base for follow-up.
For more information about Child Find, you can contact Elizabeth Long, Ph.D. at Huntsville City Schools: 256-428-6872, Brenda Albritton at Madison City Schools: 256-464-8370, and Mary Stump at Madison County Schools: 256-852-7073.
Services from birth to age 3 are identified through the Early Intervention Program. For information about these services, contact the toll-free number: 1-800-543-3098.