Program for Students with Disabilities
The following text contains information regarding the referral process to Lewis & Lewis for a Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD) related assessment. The assessment service in Victoria is typically for students who are suspected of having significant and ongoing problems and who may be eligible for funding to enable them to receive additional support at school.
Lewis & Lewis accept referrals for student who are suspected of having an Intellectual Disability (ID) or a Severe Language Disorder with Critical Educational Needs (SLD-CEN). Schools who suspect a student may qualify for PSD funding may wish to read the following FAQ before contacting a Lewis & Lewis staff member with the referral.
It is strongly recommended that schools download and read the documents below for future reference: Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) Integrated Outsourced Assessment Service Flowchart
Program for Students with Disabilities: Roles and responsibilities in the assessment process (Revised 2013)
What if we are not sure whether to refer the student to the Lewis & Lewis Assessment Service?
Lewis & Lewis accept referrals of students in years K-12. The referrals are for students who potentially have an ID or SLD-CEN, and for students in these categories who are undergoing review. Schools can always contact Lewis & Lewis by telephone and discuss individual students. Please ensure that you are talking to a Lewis & Lewis person and not the paging service. If it is the latter, leave your contact details – your name, your school, your contact phone number – and where known, the nature of your referral, i.e., a review, a new student, a prep year student, etc. If you have left a message with the paging service, a Lewis & Lewis representative will contact you within 24 hours.
When is the best time to make a referral?
Referrals should be made as early as possible. Refer to the table below for more precise referral times, based on the type of application and their differing closing dates.
|Application Type||Final Closing Date:
|New applicationsfor students currently enrolled in Victorian government schools applying for entry into the PSD.
Year 6-7 Reviews for students currently enrolled in Victorian government schools and supported by the PSD.
Applications for students with funding end dates of Term 4 2013 currently enrolled in Victorian government schools and supported by the PSD.
|19th of July 2013|
|New applications for new students to Victorian government schools. (i.e. Preps beginning in 2014 and transfers from other systems not previously receiving individual funding)||28th of February 2014|
|New applications for students transferring from other school systems with evidence of individual funding prior to transfer.||Submit within 10 school weeks of enrolment|
|New applications or reappraisals for students with a seriously deteriorating medical or behavioural condition.||Lewis & Lewis do not handle these referrals, please contact your regional student support services|
Which students can be referred to Lewis & Lewis for an assessment for inclusion in the Program for Students with Disabilities?
The agreement Lewis & Lewis has with the DEECD is only for student assessments in the eligibility categories of ID and SLD-CEN. For schools seeking assessments for Autism Spectrum Disorder or Severe Behaviour Disorder, the cognitive and language assessments required as part of the eligibility criteria need to be carried out by other providers, e.g., network School Support Services Personnel or other relevant personnel. (Regional Student Disabilities Coordinator can offer appropriate advice).
Can Lewis & Lewis assess a child with a Learning Disability, as recommended by a paediatrician/parent?
Referrals for Learning Disabilities, in the first instance, should be directed to the DEECD School Support Services Personnel, unless their history suggests a possible ID or SLD-CEN.
How can we get to know the Lewis & Lewis personnel?
How can we establish good working relationships with them?
School personnel will talk to Lewis & Lewis staff over the phone during the referral process and have an opportunity to meet them when they visit your school to complete an assessment. In addition Lewis & Lewis staff offer briefings related to their services at the beginning of each year.
What sort of things are discussed during the initial (pre-referral) telephone call?
The purpose of this phone call is to determine:
The likelihood that an assessment would have results which would probably fall within the required score range for the application to proceed.
There is ample other evidence of history of significant and severe learning difficulties and interventions which could be sufficient evidence to convince the Resource Coordination Group.
In the case of students for whom a referral in the category of Severe Language Disorder with Critical Educational Needs is being sought, there must also be:
Evidence that the student’s hearing is normal,
The student exhibits a significant educational need in another area such as behaviour, fine motor, self care etc.
There must also be an indication that the student is currently, or has been, supported by a speech pathologist.
What happens if the parents will not sign the consent form?
Without parental/legal guardian consent, Lewis & Lewis staff are not able to carry out the necessary assessment(s).
What information is needed to make a successful referral for a student with a suspected Severe Language Disorder with Critical Educational Need?
A request for an assessment of a student with SLD-CEN needs to indicate two things:
Firstly, involvement with Speech Pathology services: Given that the student has a significant language problem which is having a major impact on his/her learning, it is logical that intervention and support through speech pathology services would have been initiated. Generally, one assessment from a referring speech pathologist would support a referral, or at least provide evidence of intervention.
Second, an indication that the student has major difficulties in several other areas: This must be in addition to his/her language problem. This may be a behaviour problem which has required intervention and support from the network psychologist, or other appropriate agency; severe deficits in self help skills; safety issues or extreme difficulties with gross and/or fine motor skills.
Invariably appropriate assessment results would be required in the relevant area of educational need. It would also be advantageous if it has been established that the student’s hearing is not a problem.
Some students starting Prep the following year have not attended preschool/kindergarten in the preceeding year and gathering the background information needed for a satisfactory referral and/or application is often very difficult. What do you advise?
While attendance at kindergarten is not an essential factor for successful referral and subsequent application it is desirable in establishing a “history”. Some students with significant learning problems may have received other supports and interventions and proceeded through other agencies and parental endeavours without going to kinder.
What is the recommended procedure when a referral is contemplated for a new arrival/refugee student?
In general, it is accepted that new arrivals and refugees require around two years to settle and adapt to their new environment before an intellectual assessment is conducted. This is particularly so if the new arrival or refugee has come from an environment in which they faced significant turmoil. However, if there is direct evidence of a disability, perhaps identified in the student’s previous location, the recommended two year principle need not apply. A paediatric assessment is also highly recommended.
Does Lewis & Lewis do assessments for reappraisals?
Sometimes schools will want to appeal to the Resource Coordination Group for a change in the amount of funding provided to a student who is already receiving assistance under the PSD program. This is usually the case if there has been a change in the student’s circumstances whereby additional support is required at the school level. Lewis & Lewis is not contracted to do these assessments. If you want an assessment for a reappraisal, it is recommended that you contact the DEECD student support services in your region.
Similarly, Lewis & Lewis are not contracted to provide assessments for students who are currently supported under the PSD program who want to transfer to a specialist setting. An assessment for this purpose should be sought through the DEECD student support services in your region.
Can Lewis & Lewis inform schools if an application for support from the Program for Students with Disabilities will be successful?
No. An application’s success can only be determined by the Resource Coordination Group of the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
Where will the assessments be carried out?
Assessments will usually be school-based. At peak times (e.g., the latter half of Term 2), if it is convenient to schools, Lewis & Lewis may negotiate with them to have some assessments undertaken at a convenient network/region location.
Lewis & Lewis staff will not conduct assessments at a student’s home.
How long will the Lewis & Lewis Assessment Service take to complete the assessment?
Assessments will be completed, and subsequent reports and recommendations will be provided to schools within a short time frame.
Relevant DEECD Documents
Program for Students with Disabilities Handbook
For more information about our Program for Students with Disabilities call Lewis & Lewis on +61 3 9380 5742