ADE Director's Communication Memo Form

Memo Number : COM-09-056

Date Created : 10/03/2008


Co-op Directors
other: All Principals
LEA Supervisors
EC Coordinators

Type of Memo: Informational
Response Required: Optional
Section:   Central Administration - Dr. Diana Julian, Deputy Commissioner
Special Ed Programs: CIRCUIT Referrals and Consultant Services

Regulatory Authority:
IDEA 20 U.S.C.A. § 1400 et seq.

Contact Person:
Ms. Marcia Harding

Phone Number:


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 authorizes State activities to assist public education agencies, including direct and supportive services activities, to improve results for children with disabilities, ages 3 to 21. The Special Education Unit of the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE)established a cadre of consultants to assist education agency personnel in the provision free appropriate public education (FAPE) for students with sensory disabilities, multiple physical disabilities, behavioral disorders, autism spectrum disorders, and orientation and mobility needs. In recent years, the services have been accessed through an online referral system, Centralized Intake and Referral/Consultant Unified Intervention Team (CIRCUIT).

Beginning in the fall of 2008, as a result of reduced federal funds to fully underwrite these services, some changes were necessary to accessing services beyond the initial CIRCUIT referral. The initial referral will continue to result typically in an on-site consultation at no cost to the agency. During or immediately following the initial CIRCUIT consultation, recommendations may be made to program staff that might include where to access additional resource information; ideas on specific teaching strategies; recommendations for therapeutic interventions; resource information regarding curriculum needs; ideas on various positive behavioral supports; recommendations for specific evaluations; as well as, basic techniques or strategies that might assist the staff in addressing student needs.

Following the initial CIRCUIT consultation, the agency staff can determine a strategy for implementing the recommendations. One strategy might include purchasing additional services from a consulting group, including those initially accessed through the CIRCUIT referral system and supported in part through the Special Education Unit of the Arkansas Department of Education. These groups include the Behavior Intervention Consultants (BICs), Easter Seals Outreach (ESO), Education Services for the Visually Impaired (ESVI), Post School Outcome Intervention for Special Education (POISE), and educational and audiological services for the student with hearing impairment/deafness. These consulting groups’ services are not-for-profit, and all funds generated through these services go back into the programs to sustain and build upon existing specialized services for access by public education agencies.

Each consulting group offers a menu of fee-based services, including student-specific technical assistance, consultant services, student evaluations, and regional and statewide training. Student online referrals may be made to the CIRCUIT system of intake at


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