Child Find

Educational Services are Available for Individuals with Disabilities, Birth Through 22 Years of Age

Parents or community members within the San Luis Obispo County Special Education Local Plan Area (SLOSELPA) boundaries who suspect a child (birth to age 22) has special needs are encouraged to contact the special education department in their local school district office.

SLOSELPA member local education agencies (LEAs) work together to serve students with disabilities in compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA is a federal law that requires school districts to provide a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities. A “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) means special education and related services are to be provided as described in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) at no cost to the parent/guardian/surrogate parent of children with disabilities or adult students with disabilities ages 18 through 21.

What is Child Find?

The purpose of Child Find is to identify, locate, and evaluate children between the ages of birth through 21 years of age who are suspected of having a disability, in order to provide appropriate special education services designed to meet the student’s educational needs at no cost to the family.


What is Special Education?

Special education is instruction designed to meet the unique learning strengths and needs of the individual student with disabilities from ages 3 through 21 years of age. 

Special education services may be provided in a variety of educational settings and are required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to be delivered in the least restrictive environment.


Who is Eligible for Services?

A student must be evaluated and identified as having a disability to be eligible for special education programs and related services. The eligibility disability categories are the following:

  • Autism
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visual Impairment

How Can Children Be Referred?

A written referral may be made by a parent/guardian or by any person concerned about a child. Parent/Guardian involvement and agreement is obtained prior to any further action. Information is confidential and the privacy of children and parents is protected.


Can a Child Attending a Private School Be Referred?

School districts are required to conduct Child Find for parentally placed children with disabilities attending private schools within the district’s boundaries. Once the child is located and identified, upon parental consent, the district conducts an initial evaluation.

Citations: E.C. 56300 and 56301 and A.R. 6164.4