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Special Services

Disability Identification






Significant changes in the process and forms for disability identification and responding to requests for evaluation, special education services, and/or Section 504 accommodations have been made for the 2011 – 2012 school year. These changes were made in response to a request for Parkway to "separate" the District’s Section 504 process and documents from the SSD’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) process and documents. Parkway’s new processes and forms have "separated" the laws as much as possible, but some overlap (i.e., the Parent/Guardian Request for Evaluation/Services (BOTH Section 504 AND IDEA under Consideration)” form) was unavoidable and recognized by the SSD.


The PowerPoint presentation and the “Disability Identification Scenarios and Forms” document provide detailed information about these changes and guidance for implementation. You are encouraged to review and use these, but also to contact the Special Services Department for assistance.


The main changes are:


The SSD county-wide "Joint Review Letter" will be used for ALL school initiated "joint review" decisions regarding the IDEA. The SSD form only allows for a "yes" or "no" decision and does NOT include any reference to Section 504. The previous Parkway/SSD "Joint Review Letter" is no longer needed or to be used.


SSD staff (i.e., school psychologist) will assume responsibility for and sign the SSD "Joint Review Letter" following a decision to refer/evaluate or NOT refer/evaluate under the IDEA. Parkway is no longer using/sending this form so it is no longer on the Special Services web pages. However, a Parkway school administrator should continue to sign the “Joint Review Letter” for Parkway before the form is sent by the SSD.


The SSD county-wide "Joint Review Letter" does NOT provide the option of "more information is needed before a final decision can be made regarding the need for evaluation."  Whenever such a situation applies, whether considering Section 504 &/OR IDEA, use the Parkway "Section 504 Referral/Evaluation Review" form to notify a parent that a student has a suspected disability because no final determination can be made until sufficient  information, data, and/or documentation is available.


Following ANY IDEA decision to refer/evaluate or not refer/evaluate, SSD staff send an SSD form (“Joint Review Letter” when “school initiated” OR Notice of Action when requested by parent/guardian/student).


PARKWAY FORMS are now to be used for the initial response to ALL parent/guardian (or majority age student) request for evaluation, regardless of whether IDEA and/or Section 504 is requested/considered. There are three (3) such Parkway forms - one for IDEA, one for Section 504, and one for requests where BOTH laws need to be considered. The "Joint Review Letter" is NO LONGER USED for the initial response to requests for evaluation under either the IDEA or Section 504.


REMINDER: The appropriate Parkway form and the IDEA Procedural Safeguards, IDEA/MO DESE "Parents' Bill of Rights" and/or Section 504 rights and protections must be sent within five (5) calendar days following a request for evaluation, special education services, and/or Section 504 accommodations. 


The Parkway “Section 504 Referral/Evaluation Review” form is used for BOTH a response to a request for (only) Section 504 and for ALL decisions related to Section 504. When a student is suspected of a disability under Section 504 (i.e., following a parent/guardian/student request, while an evaluation is pending following a referral), any needed accommodations must be provided and it is recommended that the accommodations be documented on an “Interim SUSPECTED DISABILITY Plan.” The form and “guidance” for its use are available on the Special Services Department Section 504 web page.


Parkway school counselors OR administrators may sign the Parkway forms when initially responding to ALL requests for any evaluation. Parkway school administrator should sign the forms when notifying a parent/guardian/student of a (final) determination regarding any evaluation because administrators are responsible for compliance.


Because the IDEA and Section 504 forms and processes are "separate," there likely will be situations where both a Parkway Section 504 "notice" AND an SSD IDEA "notice" will be sent to a parent/guardian (or majority age student), sometimes simultaneously.


School staff must complete the SSD "referral packet" (EXCEPT for the "Review of Existing Data Documentation (RED)" boxes) for EVERY request for evaluation involving the IDEA. The "SSD Referral/Review of Existing Data Packet" is on the Special Services Department IDEA web page and must be completed. This form serves as the basis and documentation for "joint review" decisions to refer/evaluate or not under the IDEA.


The "Notice of Receipt of Diagnosis" is a revised Parkway form and is to be used when parents inform staff a student has a diagnosis/disorder/impairment but the disability identification process is not initiated – no disability is suspected by parent/guardian AND staff. This form previously was referred to as the "impairment notice."