Referring for Low Incidence Services
The process described below is used to refer children and students who are in need of services for:
- Vision Consultation
- Hearing Consultation (including Educational Audiology)
The services for these students are consultative in nature with a primary goal to build capacity within school teams and families who provide supports for these children and youth.
A. Documentation Needed to Accompany the Referral
Note: Before any referral is made, the school must be able to support the referral with specific documentation about the hearing or vision loss. If no information exists, parents should be requested to provide documentation of the diagnosed hearing or vision loss.
- For hearing loss, it is mandatory that an audiogram accompany the referral. Ideally the audiogram should have been completed within 2 years of the referral.
- For vision loss a report from an optometrist, an ophthalmologist or a medical doctor (in the case of a medical condition which affects vision loss) is required.
Note: The Low Incidence Consultants do not have the training nor the equipment to test children’s hearing or vision nor can they determine just by observing, what the child can see and hear. The documentation is CRITICAL for the consultant to provide appropriate strategies and recommendations.
If a referral is received without specific vision or hearing information, it will not be considered complete and Coordinated Intake will return it to the school. Extenuating circumstances may be discussed with Coordinated Intake. If a therapist is “adding a discipline”, the appropriate documentation is also required.
Note for REFERRALS for HEARING SERVICES:
- All children/youth with a diagnosed hearing loss may be referred for services from the DHH consultant including those with fluctuating hearing loss and unilateral hearing loss. The consultant will prioritize service needs based on multiple factors including the capacity of the adults to support the student and the functional impact of the hearing loss.
- Typically if a child has a hearing loss AND HAS EQUIPMENT (i.e. personal FM, cochlear implant, hearing aids), the referral is made bothto the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consultant (DHH) and to the Educational Audiologist. While there is overlap in their services, the key distinction is the DHH provides support for curriculum and programming while the Educational Audiologist provides support to ensure the student’s personal equipment works with the school’s equipment and technology.Please note that if a student has equipment but is NOT using his/her personnel equipment, the child/youth will become INACTIVE on the Ed. Aud. caseload until such time as the consultant is notified that the equipment is being used.
- If a referral is received by Coordinated Intake for only ONE service, the Social Worker will call the school to request further information. On occasion, it is appropriate for only one service (i.e. child does not have hearing equipment) but often this is a reflection of a misunderstanding at the school level.
- If the referral indicates a request for Educational Audiology but no equipment is listed, Coordinated Intake will contact the school for more information about the type of equipment used by the student.
B. Referral Process for Low Incidence
The same process (and forms) are used to refer for Low Incidence services as for Rehabilitation or Nursing Services. Please see below for links to the “Referral Process”, the Referral for Services Package and a sample completed “Referral Form”.
1. School Steps:
- Teacher identifies a student need or is informed of the need of an in-coming student.
- To help evaluate the severity of the student need and determine if a referral for service is appropriate, the teacher discusses the need with the specialty teacher (LST, LAT, Inclusion Coach, SSF etc.) if there is one or with an administrator (school-based or jurisdiction-based depending upon the protocol in each school authority). If SLP or OT support is also being requested, the School Core team (if there is one) needs to be consulted.
- Teacher discusses the identified need with the parents and obtains their agreement to move forward with a referral.
- If the referral is determined to be appropriate and the parents/guardians are in agreement, the teacher (or appropriate school staff member) completes the referral form. Click here to download Referral For Services Package Note: Parents are not asked to complete referral forms. Parent information will be collected verbally by Coordinated Intake.
- The school ensures that information pertaining to the vision or hearing loss (see above) is available i.e. an audiogram or optometrist/ophthalmologist’s report. If not, the parents are requested to provide this documentation.
- The teacher (or appropriate school staff member) forwards the referral along with the accompanying documentation to Coordinated Intake (assigned to each school division) by mail, fax, or e-mail at email@example.com
2. Next Steps:
- Coordinated Intake Social Workers receive the referrals and collect the information that sets the consultants up for successful intervention with child/youth and family. The Social Worker connects with Parents/Guardians to discuss the referral received, gathers input regarding the family’s specific concerns and perceptions, connects the family with needed supports and identifies possible barriers to service.
- Once complete the Social Worker forwards the intake package to the appropriate service provider and sends a confirmation letter to the school contact titled “Report Back to Referral Source” once the referral package has been completed and forwarded to the consultant.
- Click below for the timeline and details of the steps taken by Coordinated Intake including contact with the school when the referral is forwarded to the service provider OR if unable to contact the parents
Coordinated Intake Steps and Timeline: Coordinated Intake Steps and Timeline
3. Steps for when a child is already on the caseload for one discipline, but another is being added:
- The service provider already involved discusses the need for additional discipline(s) with school personnel (at a School Core Team meeting where appropriate).
- Typically the person identifying the need for an additional discipline contacts the parents.
- When all are in agreement (parents, school, service provider), the pertinent information for the new discipline(s) is gathered.
- Service provider completes the “Add a Discipline” form, ensures the pertinent information for the requested discipline is attached and forwards to Coordinated Intake.
- “Add a Discipline” forms must include information about the hearing loss (audiogram) or vision loss (optometrist, ophthalmologist, doctor report) just as a new referral would need that information. Documentation of the vision (optometrist, ophthalmologist, doctor report) or hearing loss (audiogram) MUST accompany the therapist’s referral along with other appropriate information.
- The service provider contacts (by phone or encrypted e-mail) the consultant(s) to be added.
4. Service Provider/Consultant Steps:
- In most situations the Hearing or Vision consultants will contact the parents following receipt of a referral.
- The consultants will contact the school to make arrangements for a visit.
Please Note: Services may vary according to staffing structure in a school or community.