(a) The disabilities coordinator must be
involved with other program staff throughout the full process of assessment of
children, which has three steps:
(1) All children enrolled in Head Start are screened as the first step in
the assessment process;
(2) Staff also carry out on-going developmental
assessment for all enrolled children throughout the year to determine progress
and to plan program activities;
(3) Only those children who need
further specialized assessment to determine whether they have a disability and
may require special education and related services proceed to the next step,
evaluation. The disabilities coordinator has primary responsibility for this
third step, evaluation, only.
(b) Screening, the first step in the assessment process, consists of
standardized health screening and developmental screening which includes speech,
hearing and vision. It is a brief process, which can be repeated, and is never
used to determine that a child has a disability. It only indicates that a child
may need further evaluation to determine whether the child has a disability.
Rescreening must be provided as needed.
(1) Grantees must provide for developmental, hearing and vision screenings
of all Early Head Start and Head Start children within 45 days of the child's
entry into the program. This does not preclude starting screening in the
spring, before program services begin in the fall.
(2) Grantees must
make concerted efforts to reach and include the most in need and hardest to
reach in the screening effort, providing assistance but urging parents to
complete screening before the start of the program year.
Developmental screening is a brief check to identify children who need further
evaluation to determine whether they may have disabilities. It provides
information in three major developmental areas: visual/motor, language and
cognition, and gross motor/body awareness for use along with observation data,
parent reports and home visit information. When appropriate standardized
developmental screening instruments exist, they must be used. The disabilities
coordinator must coordinate with the health coordinator and staff who have the
responsibility for implementing health screening and with the education staff
who have the responsibility for implementing developmental
(c) Staff must inform parents of the types and purposes of the screening well
in advance of the screening, the results of these screenings and the purposes
and results of any subsequent evaluations.
(d) Developmental assessment, the second step, is the collection of
information on each child's functioning in these areas: gross and fine motor
skills, perceptual discrimination, cognition, attention skills, self-help,
social and receptive skills and expressive language. The disabilities
coordinator must coordinate with the education coordinator in the on-going
assessment of each Head Start child's functioning in all developmental areas by
including this developmental information in later diagnostic and program
planning activities for children with disabilities.
(e) The disabilities coordinator must arrange for further, formal, evaluation
of a child who has been identified as possibly having a disability, the third
(1) The disabilities coordinator must refer a child to the LEA for
evaluation as soon as the need is evident, starting as early as the child's
(2) If the LEA does not evaluate the child, Head Start
is responsible for arranging or providing for an evaluation, using its own
resources and accessing others. In this case, the evaluation must meet the
(i) Testing and evaluation procedures must be selected and administered
so as not to be racially or culturally discriminatory, administered in the
child's native language or mode of communication, unless it clearly is not
feasible to do so.
(ii) Testing and evaluation procedures must be
administered by trained (State certified or licensed)
(iii) No single procedure may be the sole criterion for
determining an appropriate educational program for a child.
evaluation must be made by a multidisciplinary team or group of persons
including at least one teacher or specialist with knowledge in the area of
(v) Evaluators must use only assessment
materials which have been validated for the specific purpose for which they
(vi) Tests used with children with impaired sensory, manual
or communication skills must be administered so that they reflect the
children's aptitudes and achievement levels and not just the
(vii) Tests and materials must assess all areas related
to the suspected disability.
(viii) In the case of a child whose
primary disability appears to be a speech or language impairment, the team
must assure that enough tests are used to determine that the impairment is
not a symptom of another disability and a speech or language pathologist
should be involved in the evaluation.
(3) Parental consent in writing must be obtained before a child can have an
initial evaluation to determine whether the child has a disability.
Confidentiality must be maintained in accordance with grantee and State
requirements. Parents must be given the opportunity to review their child's
records in a timely manner and they must be notified and give permission if
additional evaluations are proposed. Grantees must explain the purpose and
results of the evaluation and make concerted efforts to help the parents
(5) The multidisciplinary team provides the results of
the evaluation, and its professional opinion that the child does or does not
need special education and related services, to the disabilities coordinator.
If it is their professional opinion that a child has a disability, the team is
to state which of the eligibility criteria applies and provide recommendations
for programming, along with their findings. Only children whom the evaluation
team determines need special education and related services may be counted as
children with disabilities.
[58 FR 5501, Jan. 21, 1993, as amended at 61 FR 57227, Nov. 5, 1996]