CUMMING, Ga. — Forsyth County Schools Assistant Director of Special Education Paul West will explain the special needs referral process in the public school system. The event, scheduled for Sept. 17, is titled “Understanding the Special Education Referral Process,” and is sponsored by Dyslexia Forsyth in partnership with the International Dyslexia Association GA and Decoding Dyslexia GA. 

Parents and educators are encouraged to participate in an informative discussion about the confusions involving the process and children suffering from difficulties with dyslexia in a classroom environment. West hopes to address some of the most common confusions concerning “timelines that public schools are required to follow” and the many types of support plans.

“What is important is for parents to understand where to start this process, who they can contact, and what to expect along the way,” West said. “There are many ways in which we support our students with interventions and accommodations before a referral to special education is made. Then, when or if a referral is made, what the key similarities are and differences between special education and other types of support.”

This event is one of the county’s many annual public outreach discussions to better inform the community and avoid confusion during a challenging process. The discussion will cover the different levels of support available to special needs students who experience challenges during the average school day. These include Georgia’s new Multi-Tier Systems of Support, Student Support Team, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act addressing disability discrimination and how it applies to public education in addition to the overall referral process. 

“We try to make this an annual presentation whether through the school system or through Dyslexia Network of Forsyth County,” West said. “Because there is so much information and misinformation, we want our community to have an understanding of how the process work and how to ask for help.”

The event is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Piney Grove Middle School in the cafeteria. The school is at 8135 Majors Road.

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