Most children with VCFS will require some
type of special education service as they progress from kindergarten
through college age. Many children with this syndrome are served in
the public schools through the IDEA Act (Individuals With Disabilities
Education Act) in the categories of Speech and Language, Learning
Disabilities and Other Health Impairment. Parents may refer their
child for special education testing by contacting their local school
district. This initial contact can be made as early as age three.
Once a referral has been made, the school district must convene a
special education team to evaluate the suspected area(s) of need.
School districts have 90 days in which to do this evaluation, develop
an education plan and, if required, offer placement. Parents must give
their permission for their child to be tested. Parents are a part of
this team and can make suggestions regarding which areas to test. They
can also provide information to the team that they have gathered
through outside testing, medical reports, articles, studies, etc.
Once a child has been evaluated, the team will meet to determine if
the child meets the criteria for needing special education services.
This determination should be made based on norm based test scores,
classroom performance indicators, medical records, and interviews with
teachers and parents. No single test (such as an IQ test) can be used
as the sole determining factor as to whether a child should qualify
for special education services. The team must consider several
assessments to make this determination.
Children with VCFS often have many deficits which should be explored
when considering special education placement. Many VCFS children do
not function well in a large group setting without reteaching / small
group opportunities for learning. Although the type of program needed
will vary from individual to individual, there are areas of need that
seem to be shared by a great many children with this syndrome.
Professionals should take a close look at these target areas when a
child is referred for evaluation.
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