Early Childhood Special Education
A child must be determined to meet state-established special education criteria to be able to access services. The services are typically provided in the home, focusing on the strengths and priorities of the family.
Birth to three program
- For children ages birth through 36 months.
- A child must be determined to meet state-established special education criteria to be able to access these services through the school district.
- There is no cost to the family for services provided by the school district’s Early Childhood Special Education staff.
- Services are typically provided in the home, which is the child’s primary environment, focusing on the strengths and priorities of the family.
Through the assessment process, the parents, child and the Early Childhood staff will look at the child’s overall health and ability to:
- Move, see and hear
- Understand others' communication
- Respond and relate to others
- Eat, dress and care for daily living needs
The assessment process
Typically the assessment process will take place in the home, which is the most natural environment for the young child.
Assessments frequently require:
- Information from the parents and other caregivers.
- Observations of the child in natural surroundings.
- Structured and unstructured interactions with various members of the Early Childhood team, depending on the extent and type of assessment being completed.
- Information from the child’s health care providers.
Assessment process in the home
The typical home visit to conduct the educational assessment involves interaction and consultation with the parents. This information gathering process includes observing the child in their most natural setting (the home). Depending on the type of assessment, some structured assessment activities will also be conducted.
Service providers that are listed on the assessment plan will schedule times to meet with the family and child at their home. The parent and service provider discuss areas of strengths and challenges for the child and family.
A typical home visit assessment session will last approximately one hour. It is common to have more than one scheduled session in order to complete the assessment.
Roles and expectations of staff
- Gather information from the parent /caregiver about the child’s strengths and areas of challenge.
- Observe the child in his/her usual routine (this may include normal daily interactions or routines with siblings or parents).
- Conduct structured assessment activities.
The role and expectations of the parent/caregiver
Provide a typical environment during the home visit. It is most helpful for the home visit staff to observe situations as they typically would be. The one exception would be to please have the TV turned off, to minimize distractions for everyone.
Occasionally, the staff may request a quieter area with minimal distractions to conduct some of the more structured assessment activities.
Be open and honest with your concerns and questions. Remember, we are a team in the assessment process!
Eligibility for services
Eligibility is based on verifying and documenting that a child has any of the following:
- A medically diagnosed disability
- A ‘significant’ delay in one or more areas of development
- A condition known to hinder typical development
Commonly used terms
Educational Team A selected group of people who evaluate and develop a child's Individual Education Plan. It typically includes the parents and/or primary caregivers, various educational specialists (such as Early Intervention Teacher, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, and a Speech and Language Clinician), as well as any advocates, family members or friends that the family wishes to include.
Case Manager The designated school district staff member who acts as a coordinator of the child’s services and works in partnership with the family and other service providers.