An effort is underway in the Scotland County area to identify youth ages 0 through 21 who have disabilities and need special education and related services.
This effort, called Project Child Find, also includes highly mobile children with disabilities (such as migrant and homeless children) and children who are suspected of being a child with a disability and in need of special education, even though they are advancing from grade to grade.
The local initiative to identify children and youth are part of a concentrated statewide effort to find children who need special help which they are not currently receiving.
“We need the help of all citizens in this effort to find children and youth who could benefit from special services,” said Dr. Mary Watson, director of the Department of Public Instruction’s Exceptional Children Division. “Without this help, a child with a disability may not be found. The right to a free appropriate public education is guaranteed to every child with a disability, ages 3-21.”
Project Child Find also tries to inform the parent(s) and/or guardian(s) of these children about services available from their local school system and other state and community agencies. The collection and use of data to meet the requirements of Project Child Find are subject to the confidentiality requirements.
Help is available for children with special needs, according to Watson. This help includes a complete evaluation, an individualized education program designed specifically for the child and a referral to other agencies providing special services.
Project Child Find is looking for children and youth who have been diagnosed or are suspected to have mental, physical or emotional disabilities and are unable to benefit from a regular school program without special assistance.
Anyone who knows a child or youth who may have disabilities and is not in school or receiving special assistance, should urge the parent(s)/guardian(s) to contact: the superintendent, the exceptional children director, principal or the Department of Public Instruction’s Exceptional Children Division.
For information, call the local school system at (910) 276-1138 or North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, Exceptional Children Division, 919-807-3969 or Office of Early Learning (ages 3-5) 919-807-3946.
For Birth –two years of age, you may call, 919-707-5520. The toll free number to the Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center Parent information line is 1-800-962-6817.