The Virgin Islands Department of Education’s Division of Special Services is actively seeking to locate, identify and evaluate children who may have developmental delays, identified and/or suspected disabilities and are not being served in a district public school, according to Maureen Moorehead, district coordinator for the St. Croix District’s Division of Special Services. Children and youth suspected of having a disability even though they are advancing from grade to grade as well as highly mobile/migrant and/or homeless children are also included in the district’s child find initiative.
“All referral and evaluation services are considered confidential and are provided at no cost to the family. Services include screening in areas of suspected disabilities, such as vision, hearing, motor skills, speech, language and general development,” Moorehead said. “Evaluations are provided for several areas of suspected disabilities, including learning disabilities, speech and language development, physical impairments, vision or hearing impairments, mental retardation, emotional disturbances, autism, health impairments and traumatic brain injuries.”
A free, appropriate, public education is available for eligible children ages three through 21 years. The parent, legal guardian or surrogate parent retains the right to refuse services and is provided other procedural safeguards under federal and state law. “Each child is unique and some have special needs or concerns when it comes to learning, but all have the right to an education,” she added.
For more information about available special education and related services or to request a referral packet, contact the St. Croix District’s Division of Special Services at 718-7997, ext. 241.