Child Find

What is a Child Find?
Child Find is the process of locating, evaluating, and identifying children with disabilities who may be in need of special education and related services.

What is a disability?
For children ages birth to 3 – A physical or mental condition that may result in a developmental delay. For children under the age of 3 should be referred through Babies Can't Wait or a medical physician. 

For children ages 3 through 5 – A documented deficit in one or more of the following developmental areas: communication, vision, hearing, motor skills, social emotional/behavioral functioning, self-help skills, and/or cognitive skills.


For children ages 5 through 21 – Identification of one or more of the following conditions: autism, deaf blindness, hearing impairment including deafness, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, emotional disturbance, specific learning disability, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, and/or visual impairment including blindness. 

Local school districts are required by federal and state laws to find children who may need special education services and related services. 


What is the purpose of Child Find?
• To alert parents, professionals, and the public to children who may have special needs

• To guarantee that school districts find children who may have disabilities and who otherwise may not have come to their  attention

• To enable eligible children to receive the special education and related services that are needed

• To promote public awareness of disabilities


How can you help?
If you are aware of a child who may have special needs, please notify his/her school district. Parents, relatives, public and private agency employees, childcare providers, physicians and concerned citizens are encouraged to help school districts find any child, ages birth – 21, who may have a disability and are in need of special education and related services.

What happens next?
The school district will contact the parents of the child to discuss the next steps in the evaluation and identification process. This process is provided at no cost to the family. If a need is identified, the child can begin receiving the appropriate special education and related services during the school day.

 If you suspect a child may have a disability, please contact Mrs. Catherine Gossett, Decatur County Schools Special Education Director @229-248-2826.