Child Study Team (CST)

Mr. Greg Cesare

Mr. Greg Cesare

Director of Special Education
856-783-6261 x831
Email: [email protected]


Stephanie Wiley, CST Secretary
856-783-6261 Ext. 812; [email protected]

Angela Lindner, Social Worker & Primary School Case Manager
856-783-6261 Ext. 835; [email protected]

Regina Valinski, School Psychologist & Elementary School Case Manager
856-783-6261 Ext. 833; [email protected]

Kimberly Noonan, Learning Consultant & Middle School Case Manager
856-783-6261 Ext. 832;


How is a student referred for a Child Study Team Evaluation?
Students between the ages of 3 and 21 suspected of having an educational disability may be referred to the Child Study Team for an evaluation. This referral generally comes from one of the following sources:

  • PARENTS: Parents may request a Child Study Team Evaluation by contacting the Case Manager at their child's school and forwarding the request in writing.
  • TEACHERS/ADMINISTRATORS: Teachers or school administrators who have concerns about the progress of a child in their class or building can fill out a form and send to the Child Study Team secretary for processing, though typically teachers with academic concerns begin with a referral to the I&RS committee.
  • I&RS: The I&RS Intervention and Referral Services committee is an inter-disciplinary group that meets regularly to provide intervention for students experiencing difficulty in the classroom. Once I&RS has applied its resources and determines that additional information may be necessary, or feels that the student may be potentially educationally disabled, the student may be recommended for a CST evaluation.
  • EARLY INTERVENTION: When students age out of Early Intervention (EI) services, a direct referral is made from EI to the Child Study Team.

What is the procedure after the referral is made?
Once the referral has been made the Case Manager has twenty (20) days to schedule an Identification Meeting. The necessary personnel expected to attend this meeting would be a social worker, psychologist, learning disabilities teacher consultant, classroom teacher, speech & language specialist (if the suspected disability includes that area or the child is preschool age), other relevant specialists in the area of disabilities, and the parent.

Are students automatically tested if the request is made?
No. Once a request for a Child Study Team evaluation is made an Identification Meeting must be scheduled. At that meeting it is determined if a Child Study Team evaluation is warranted, and if so, an Evaluation Plan is developed.

What is the procedure if the student is going to be tested?

Once it is determined that testing is necessary an assessment plan is developed and the parent/guardian gives written permission. The district then has ninety (90) days to complete the necessary evaluations. Within the ninety (90) days an Eligibility Conference is scheduled where the evaluations are interpreted and it is determined if the student is eligible for special education and/or related services.

If a student is eligible does that mean he or she will be enrolled in a special education class?
Not necessarily. Before a student receives services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) must be developed and agreed to. In Somerdale, many of our special education students receive services within general education classrooms and programs.


Related services are services that can be added–when needed–to the IEPs of students with specific skill deficits in these areas, according to evaluation results. Speech and Language is the only related service that can be provided in isolation. Students that meet eligibility criteria in the category “Eligible for Speech-Language services” can be given an IEP that specifically deals with a child's needs in this area.


What are Speech and Language Services ?

The development of age-appropriate speech and language skills is essential to the learning process and to a student's social, emotional, and academic growth. Students must be able to comprehend language, express their thoughts and opinions, interact effectively and efficiently with peers and adults, and produce speech which others can easily understand.

The Somerdale School District provides speech and language services to students grades preschool through 8th grade who demonstrate a need to improve their speech and language skills in articulation, language, fluency, or voice disorder in order to achieve academic success.

How are students referred for speech and language services?
Students can be referred for speech and language services by their parents or their classroom teachers if they are concerned about a student's speech and language proficiency as part of a Child Study Team Evaluation or in isolation. The goal of these services is to help students develop the speech and language skills necessary for positive interpersonal relationships and academic success.


What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy is a related service designed to help students within a school setting who are showing an educational related difficulty which impairs his/her ability to function in the school environment. Occupational Therapists use purposeful activity to facilitate a student's active participation in the areas of self-care, academic and/or vocational pursuits, as well as play and leisure activities. Using direct and indirect services, as well as assistive technology and environmental modifications, school occupational therapists collaborate with parents, teachers, and other educational staff to help implement a child's program. The goal of services is to assist a student to function well within the school setting.

What is Physical Therapy?
Physical Therapy is a related service designed to help students access their school environment and participate safely and to the best of their ability in their academic curriculum. School physical therapists address functional limitations such as difficulties with mobility, transitions or gross motor skills, as well as interventions that address impairments that contribute to those functional limitations such as posture, balance, strength, and coordination. Difficulties in these areas must impact upon student participation in their educational program and environment.


Other related services include behavioral consultation and AAC consultation (Augmentative and Alternative Communication).

Important Forms