|Preschool Special Education. Inclusion for children with disabilities Bright Tots - Information on child development - Autism information
|Preschool Special Education|
|Preschool Special Education
Children are eligible for special education if he or she meets the criteria of one of the disabling conditions recognized by the Disabilities Education Act regulations. The child must have one of the following conditions: speech-language impaired, other health impaired, hearing impaired, visually impaired, orthopedically impaired, cognitively delayed, multiply-disabled, deaf/blind, seriously emotionally disturbed, learning disabled, autism or traumatic brain injured.
Children who are 5 years old or younger may be identified as a child with a disability without the disability being specified. If the child is deemed eligible for preschool special education services, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team will set a date upon which special education services will begin. This date may be on the child’s third birthday or on the first day of the following school year. An eligible child whose third birthday falls during the summer vacation begins services in the fall unless the child needs Extended School Year (ESY) services.
Preschool Special Education
In a preschool special education program, children are guaranteed all of the protections and benefits of the federal and state special education laws. The central benefit under these laws is a free, appropriate public education. Every child who qualifies for special education has the right to a public education. It does not matter how severe the child’s disabilities may be or how much special education the child requires. Every qualifying child must receive an appropriate educational program, and the services must be provided without cost to the parents.
Special Education - Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
Children receiving special education must be placed in a program which is located in the least restrictive environment. The (LRE) means the placement which is as close as possible to the regular education program. Special education law favors placing children with disabilities in regular classrooms with whatever supplemental aids they need to be successful. If a child is not going to be placed in regular education, the school district must justify the removal from regular education as necessary to meet the child’s needs. The least restrictive environment at the preschool level has been interpreted somewhat differently from LRE at the elementary school level.
Special education preschool programs for children ages 3 and 4, are offered by few schools, there is no “regular” classroom environment in which preschoolers with special needs can be placed with children who are the same age. Preschool children may, however, be integrated into kindergarten classes with 5-and 6-year olds. Or they may be served in a community -based preschool classroom, a Head Start class, a preschool special education classroom with children who are the same age, or in a home-based program in which the special education teacher provides services in the child’s home. School districts are not responsible for establishing preschool programs for non-disabled children, nor do districts have to pay for private preschool placement for children with special needs unless such a placement is necessary to implement the child’s special education program.
Making Friends for Children in Special Education
Special education law encourages school districts to give children with disabilities the chance to associate with other children, both disabled and non-disabled, so that they can build a circle of friends and acquaintances. All children in special education-no matter where they receive their program have the right to spend at least part of the school day with children who do not have disabilities. The least restrictive environment for preschool children may be achieved in any of the following ways: All children need a chance to make friends with other children their age.
• Locating a preschool special education program in a regular elementary school
• Linking a preschool special education program to preschool programs operated by other public or private agencies (e.g. Head Start)
• Combining children who have disabilities with children who do not have a disability in a preschool special education program (“reverse main streaming”)
A child in preschool special education program may be placed in a private preschool if such a placement is necessary to implement the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). The school district would be responsible for the costs of the private placement for the portion of time that the child is receiving special education.
Special Education Family Involvement
In the special education of children parents are important decision makers. School districts must inform parents about the options available and the procedures used in special education. The family and school personnel become the team that makes decisions about the child’s needs and services. Representatives of your school district should discuss with you:
• The nature of your child’s disability and its implication for education
• Methods of coordinating your child’s services
• The school district’s special education program and how it works.
Special Education Evaluation
You as a parent can refer your child for a special education evaluation. Professionals who work with your child like your family physician or a therapist may make a referral. A child may also be referred because of concerns raised by Preschool Screening.
To make a special education referral:
• Contact your local school district
• Discuss the reasons for suspecting that your child has a disability
• Summerize the supports and services your child received through early intervention services and their results and outcomes
• Fill out the district’s referral form describing the child’s learning problems or developmental delays
• Give your consent in writing so that your child can be tested for special education.
Special Education Process
Before starting special education a comprehensive evaluation must look at the child from several viewpoints. It must also be non biased and nondiscriminatory. If you child speaks a language other than English, your child must be tested in the language which he or she uses and understands. The comprehensive evaluation cannot be limited to one test. It may include (but is not limited to):
• An individual psychological examination
• Vision and hearing examinations
• A medical history
• Standardized developmental evaluation
• Observations of social behavior
• Assessment of language development
• Observation in several environment
• Information from family members and others who know the child well
• Information from teachers, doctors, therapists, and others who have worked with the child.
You must consent in writing to the evaluation, and you have the right to be fully informed of the results. At the Child Study Team meeting you will meet with public school personnel to discuss the results of the evaluation.
Preschool Special Education Program
When children are three, four, and fiver years old, it is sometimes hard to imagine them attending “school” as older children do. Preschool special education is a program designed to meet the unique developmental needs of a particular child. The program may focus on self help skills, motor development, language skills, pre-academic learning, social skills or any combination of these. Preschool special education is education. It is not designed to meet a child’s medical needs, nor does it provide the child care services typically found in day-care.
Extended School Year Special Education
Normally special education services are provided during the regular school year, but some children require more schooling than that. Extended School Year (ESY) services may be written into the IEP and provided to a child during the summer months. ESY services are offered to prevent significant loss of previously learned skills. ESY applies to specific educational goals and objectives.
Children in special education are entitled to a wide variety of services if they need those services or to benefit from their education. These related services may include (but are not limited to):
• Physical Therapy
• Orientation and mobility services
• School health services
• Speech and language pathology services
• Audiology services
• Recreation and recreation therapy services
• Social work services in schools
• Psychological services
• Counseling services
• Rehabilitation counseling services
• Medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes
• Parent training services
• Assistive technology services
The IEP should indicate the related services the child needs, how much of the services is required, and how often the services will be provided.
|Preschool Special Education
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