Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is on the Intervention and Referral Services Team (I&RS) and how is the I&RS team different from the Child Study Team (CST)?


The Intervention and Referral Services Team is typically made up of the school principal, the school nurse, the school guidance counselor, one special education teacher, one general education teacher, and a child study team member. The I&RS Team develops strategies and interventions for teachers who are facing challenges in meeting the needs of students.

The Child Study Team, depending upon a student’s age, is comprised of the School Psychologist, the School Social Worker, the Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDT/C). Through the use of evaluations the Child Study Team determines whether or not a child is in need or eligible for special education services. The Speech therapist and other related services providers also work in conjunction with the CST, when such services are needed.

What makes a child eligible for services?

To be eligible for special education and related services: (1) A student must have a disability according to one of the eligibility categories; (2) The disability must adversely affect the student’s educational performance; and (3) The student must be in need of special education and related services (New Jersey Department of Education, 2009).

My child has dyslexia, why isn’t he/she eligible for services?
Dyslexia is a language-based learning disability. A diagnosis of dyslexia is not automatically a criterion for Special Education classification under the category of Specific Learning Disability. Only after a comprehensive evaluation is completed is eligibility determined collaboratively  at a meeting (criteria can be found in N.J.A.C 6A:14-3.5. However, dyslexia and its symptoms can be addressed in different ways in the school setting including specialized instruction, accommodations and technological assistance.

After my child is evaluated by the CST what happens next?
Once the evaluations are completed, a collaborative meeting (otherwise known as an eligibility meeting) is scheduled by the student’s case manager where the results are reviewed and a determination is made as to whether the student is eligible for special education and related services. If the student is eligible, the IEP Team discusses programming and placement options to meet the student’s educational needs. If a parent is in agreement and signs the Individualized Educational Program/Plan services will go into effect immediately.

Who is the IEP team and who will attend the IEP meetings?
Except when they have been excused from attending the following persons will attend IEP meetings:

  • Student, if appropriate (Beginning at age 14, the student must be invited to attend the IEP meeting to meet the requirements for transition planning).
  • Parent(s);
  • General education teacher
  • Not less than one special education teacher if a student is found eligible for services
  • At least one child study team member (who could also be the Case Manager/School District Representative
  • Others at the discretion of the school district or parent ( if proper notification has been provided by the parent)
  • If transition will be discussed at the IEP meeting, a representative of any other agency likely to provide or pay for services; and
  • At request of the parent, the Part C Service Coordinator for a student transitioning from the Early Intervention Program         

What is an Individualized Educational Program/Plan (IEP)?

The IEP is a written plan that describes your child’s special education program, their current performance, and instructional needs, modifications that are made to the general education curriculum, accommodations provided in the classroom, related services needed to assist the student in accessing the general education curriculum and goals and objective for the plan.

If my child is pulled out of class for special services, what part does my child's general education teacher have in the IEP process?

If a child is pulled out of the class for special services it is because the child is receiving his or her instruction in a separate setting for one or more subjects. This setting is different from the general education classroom because the child is receiving specialized instruction in a smaller sized class with other students with disabilities. The general education teacher’s part in the IEP process is to report on the child’s progress in the area of instruction which he or she provides the student and the student’s social and behavioral functioning in the general education setting.

What is the parent’s part in the child’s IEP?

The parent  is an active member of the IEP Team who has the right to share concerns and voice opinions relevant to their child’s educational program. Feedback and collaboration is sought in order to address each child’s individual need so that each child is afforded a free and appropriate education.

My child’s teacher says he needs help, why doesn’t the CST agree? Why won’t the CST evaluate my child?

If the Child Study Team has not chosen to evaluate your child, it could be for a number of reasons. In order for an evaluation to move forward the Child Study Team will become involved after the teacher has sought assistance from the Intervention and Referral Services Team (I&RS). General education initiatives are required to be attempted prior to seeking an evaluation from the CST. Therefore, the CST will generally not evaluate a student if the teacher has not been to the I&RS team and implemented RTI procedures to seek interventions and strategies that would possibly help the student exhibit positive academic progress have not occurred.

Am I supposed to get my child evaluated on my own or wait until the school agrees there is a need?

Parents are free to do as they wish with their child. However, it is always a good idea to collaborate with the student’s teacher and consult with the Child Study Team before parents initiate evaluations as they can be costly.

If I get an evaluation on my own, must the school accept and implement any recommendations I receive from a third party?

The school district must consider any independent evaluation, including one you pay for, when making decisions regarding your child’s special education program.

However, the school district is not required to accept the evaluation report or incorporate any of its recommendations in your child’s IEP.

What is a PRISE booklet?

The Parental Rights in Special Education (PRISE) is a document published by the New Jersey Department of Education that describes the state and federal laws affecting the provision of special education to help you understand your rights in the special education process. This information is designed to prepare parents to take an active role in their child’s education. The Office of Special Education Programs periodically revises this document to reflect changes in the law, provide additional information that would be of use and to provide the information in a more clear and concise manner.


To access the New Jersey Department of Education’s, Parental Rights in Special Education (PRISE), go to:

 English:  PRISE