Referral Process


To be eligible for Diagnostic Center assessment services, the following eligibility criteria should be reviewed:

  • Student is between the ages of 3 and 21 years old.
  • The student is receiving public education services within the thirty-five counties in DCN's region
  • The student must be enrolled in a special education program, where the student is
    • making inadequate progress, or
    • presents a complex and/or low incidence disabling condition, or
    • presents a complex behavioral and/or learning profile
  • The Local Educational Agency (LEA) requires additional diagnostic information to assist in defining the most appropriate educational goals and teaching strategies
  • The LEA has utilized available resources to address the student's needs; however; questions/issues remain unanswered, including issues regarding special education eligibility
  • Referral issues are not more appropriately addressed by an agency other than the educationally focused services of the Diagnostic Center (i.e., Regional Center or Department of Mental Health).

The following chart highlights some of the services that the Diagnostic Center can and cannot provide:

Can Cannot
Provide qualified staff to conduct individualized diagnostic assessments.
Enforce or monitor Diagnostic Center recommendations.
Provide objective, individualized assessments to address identified questions and concerns.
Participate in or enforce IEPs.
Review relevant records and reports.
Make specific placement recommendations.
Communicate with families and district personnel before and after the assessment.
Evaluate home environment or teachers.
Make educational recommendations based on assessment findings.
Endorse commercial products or programs.
Provide a written report of findings and recommendations to families and LEAs.
Monitor student progress
Consult with students' physicians and other providers when necessary.
Provide mental health services
Provide technical assistance and consultation when required to implement Diagnostic Center recommendations.
Provide baseline assessments that are the responsibility of the LEA such as functional behavior, assistive technology, bilingual (e.g. CELDT), or triennial assessments.
Require the LEA to participate in the assessment and conference.
Provide medical treatment, neurological evaluations, or prescribe medications.
Provide interpreters for assessments Provide interpreter services for post assessment conference or translation for written report of findings.
N/A Serve students in non-public schools or on home instruction except under certain conditions


Referral Application Packet

Students must be referred to the Diagnostic Center by their local educational agencies (school district or county office of education).

The referral application includes two parts or forms:

  • Part I: District Information;
  • Part II: Parent Information.

Both of these forms, along with all of the required information included on the front page of the district and parent forms, are required. District personnel should complete the "District Information" form and the parent/legal guardian should complete the "Parent Information" form. If any portion of the packet is incomplete, it will result in the delay of the assessment. The initial referral should include the following:

  1. A completed application packet (District & Parent) specifying district/parent concerns. diagnostic questions to be addressed and district attempts at remediation
  2. The most current Individualized Education Program
  3. The results of the most current evaluation (reports older than 2.5 years will not be accepted)
  4. Release of information forms (HIPAAs) dated and signed by parent. One HIPAA is to be completed per provider. It is important that all information be filled out completely to include the name and address of the clinic, hospital, organization or agency
  5. Authorization by LEA Director of Special Education or designated special education administrator (signature confirms district has exhausted local resources)
  6. Authorizing parent signature (signature authorizes the referral)
  7. Referrals sent in by parents are not accepted and will be returned

Referral Application

The referral application and records are screened by an admissions review committee to determine completeness of the referral package and to determine acceptance of the referral. The local education agency and parents are contacted regarding the recommendations of the admissions committee and an assessment date is scheduled. Please contact us at to request a referral application.