New Jersey Coalition of Child Study Teams
The Coalition of Child Study Teams (COCST) was established in June, 1999 to develop and enhance ongoing communication and collaboration among the respective New Jersey State professional associations which include the:
- Association of Learning Consultants (ALC)
- New Jersey Association of School Psychologists (NJASP)
- New Jersey Association of Speech-Language Specialists (NJASLS)
- New Jersey Association of School Social Workers (NJASSW)
- New Jersey Association of School Nurses (NJSSA)
Our Mission Goals Are:
- To ensure that disabled students receive services guaranteed under state
and federal law for a Free and Appropriate Public Education.
- To advocate for school based Child Study Teams services
provided by employees of the local school district.
- To advocate for open communication with families and teachers
concerning all services needed by students.
- To develop collaborative relationships with professional organizations
and education stake holder groups.
- To inform our respective memberships of legislative actions which
will affect the educational rights of all students.
- To influence and support public policies which further our mission
to protect the rights of all students.
Position Statement on Roles and Functions of Child Study Team Members
Federal and state laws emphasize the importance of parents as key decision makers in the educational process. Child Study Team personnel share many common skills such as child advocacy, understanding of school functioning, knowledge and implementation of special education law, case management, transition planning, inservice training, research, and community collaboration. However, each discipline approaches the intervention and eligibility process from a different perspective based on the training and skills of each profession.
Therefore, it is imperative that parents be provided with a clear delineation of Child Study Team roles and functions. The Coalition of Child Study Teams' state associations - the Association of Learning Consultants, the New Jersey Association of School Psychologists, the New Jersey Association of School Social Workers, and the New Jersey Association of Speech Language Specialists - have jointly developed this position statement concerning our respective roles, our functions, and the best practices related to our professions in New Jersey's public schools. We believe that this statement is needed in light of the recent and anticipated changes in federal and state special education rules and regulations.
The COCST is dedicated to the multi-disciplinary model of assessment and intervention for students with special needs. This model is a team approach in which separate professionals assess the educational impact of a child’s learning, behavioral, emotional, social, community, health, communication and language functioning. As such, the Child Study Team provides students and parents with the most comprehensive and reliable method of assessing children's needs and recommending appropriate educational and related services.
The Learning Disabilities Teacher-Consultant (LDT-C) functions in the school environment as an educational diagnostician, instructional programmer and Child Study Team member. The LDT-C is required to be dually certified as a teacher. The requirement of classroom teaching experience offers a multi-dimensional relevance to the assessment and implementation processes. Learning Disability Teacher-Consultants use their understanding of classroom functioning, effective teaching and adaptive instruction to help students maximize their learning potential and provide practical assistance to their teachers. Services provided include teacher/student consultation, preventative pre-referral intervention, assessment, coordination of services, and program development. The LDT-C must also effectively communicate with parents, teachers and administrators. An educational assessment shall be the responsibility of a learning disabilities teacher-consultant employed by the district board of education. The assessment should include both standardized and functional assessments, review of the student’s work samples and the student’s records, classroom observations, interviews of teacher and other relevant parties, evaluation and analysis of the student’s academic performance and learning characteristics.
School Psychologists are specialists with training and expertise in psychology as it is applied to education. They use their training and skills to collaborate with parents, educators, and other professionals to ensure that every child learns in a safe and supportive environment. School Psychologists use their understanding of school organization and effective learning to help students realize their academic and social potentials. They tailor their services to the particular needs of each child and each situation. School Psychologists are trained to assess and counsel students with behavioral, emotional, and educational concerns through consultation, prevention, intervention, crisis management, evaluation, and program development. A psychological assessment shall be the responsibility of a School Psychologist employed by the district Board of Education. The psychological assessment should include standardized and functional appraisals of a student’s current cognitive, intellectual, adaptive, social, emotional and behavioral status in the context of his/her environments. The assessment should include consultation with parents, educators, and relevant professionals; a student interview; and observation of the student in other than a testing situation.
School Social Workers provide unique services to students and their families, helping the students attain maximum benefits from their educational programs. The School Social Worker's knowledge of social, emotional, cultural and economic differences among children and families enable them to be the link between school, family and community. As a member of the educational team, School Social Workers promote and support students' academic and social/emotional well-being. Through sound school social work practice, the School Social Worker is able to enhance the full educational and individual potential of all students and eliminate barriers to learning by being pro-active within the academic community and providing early intervention, prevention, consultation, counseling, crisis management, and support services. A social assessment shall be the responsibility of a school social worker employed by the district board of education. The social assessment shall include observation of the student and communication with the student's parent(s)/guardian(s). It shall also include an evaluation of the student's adaptive social functioning and emotional development and of the family, social, and cultural factors which influence the student's learning and behavior in the educational setting.
Speech-Language Specialists are experts in all areas of communication who make assessments, analyses and classifications of students' communication competencies and characteristics. As a member of the educational team, the Speech Language Specialist participates in the planning of educational programs for children with communication disorders. Speech Language Specialists plan, prepare and deliver treatment programs for children with speech and language deficiencies. They also serve as resource persons in the area of speech and language development and disorders to classroom teachers, parents, administrators and the child study team. A speech and language assessment shall be the responsibility of a Speech Correctionist or Speech-Language Specialist employed by the district Board of Education. The assessment shall include observations of the student in other than a testing session, consultation with the classroom teacher, communication with the parent(s)/guardian(s), and an evaluation and analysis of speech and language development.
Approved by ALC, NJASP, NJASLS, and NJASSW in October, 2002