Referral & Enrollment Procedures

Referral and Enrollment

Upon the request of a local school district or Early Access provider, ISD will assist in determining the educational needs of preschool and school-age children identified or suspected of being deaf or hard of hearing and determining whether enrollment at ISD is the most appropriate way to meet those needs.

Any referral for evaluation or placement will be an IEP team decision preceded by the student’s file review by the ISD referral team.

1. Referral

Council Bluffs area children between the ages of two and three years old may be referred by their Early Access provider to the ISD preschool.

Students aged three and above will be referred by the public school they attend or district in which they reside.

Phone calls regarding referrals are welcome. However, all referrals must be received in writing from the IFSP or IEP team.

The referral should include the student’s current IFSP or IEP, documentation of a hearing level that adversely affects the student’s educational performance, reports on any significant medical issues, educational assessment results, communication/language assessments, home language survey, functional behavior assessment if applicable, high school transcript and schedule if applicable, attendance reports, discipline reports, most recent report card, achievements scores and immunization record.

2. File review by the ISD Referral Team

The referral team will review the student’s file to determine:

  • If the student has a qualifying disability of deafness or hearing loss, and identify other needs that have not yet been assessed by the referring district.
  • If the student is a danger to self or others and/or presents systemic behavior which is disruptive to the educational process of the other students.
  • If the student presents medical or safety issues which are beyond the scope of care provided by the education or health services staff.
  • If the student’s academic, developmental, medical, social/emotional and behavioral needs can be met by the available services and programs at ISD.

After a file review the ISD referral team may ask to observe the student in his/her local district education setting.

If ISD’s programs and services cannot meet the needs of the student the reasons will be discussed with the school district.

If ISD’s programs and services can meet the student’s needs, the referral team will review the student’s current IEP to ensure the goals can be accommodated by ISD during the evaluation period. If not, some modifications may be made and noted if an evaluation is recommended.

3. Evaluation at ISD

ISD staff will conduct an evaluation for a period of up to 30 school days. The evaluation may include a classroom-based assessment, developmental/cognitive assessment, academic assessment, audiological assessment, speech/language and communication assessments, and observations by school and dorm staff, as appropriate.

Parents will be asked to complete the ISD registration packet. If parents have not already done so, they will be asked to visit ISD with school district and/or AEA staff prior to the evaluation.

The IEP written by the referring district will remain in force with any noted modifications made by ISD, and the responsibility for FAPE will remain with the referring district during the evaluation period.

4. Recommendations for Services and Placement

Enrollment at ISD is contingent on:

  • the outcome of the evaluation
  • whether or not ISD can provide the most appropriate educational services for the student
  • if placement at ISD is the most appropriate setting for the implementation of those educational services.

Placement decisions will be made by the IEP team.

5. Iowa School for the Deaf Dormitory Services Criteria

Eligibility for ISD’s instructional services does not mean the child is automatically eligible for residential services. To qualify for residential services, the child has to meet specific criteria:

  • Child lives more than a one-hour commute (one-way) to ISD (certain exceptions may be considered).
  • Child is five years or older by September 1.
  • Child must not be a danger to self or others and does not engage in illegal activities.
  • Child does not have a medical condition that is beyond the capacity of care for the ISD Health Center.
  • Child must have basic self-help skills and does not require one-on-one assistance or one-on-one supervision and is able to follow the residential program’s age-appropriate schedule.