Early Childhood Special Education
Early Childhood Special Education (Part B of IDEA) and Early Intervention (Part C of IDEA), in Virginia, provide services for children from birth to Kindergarten age who qualify according to state and federal law. All localities in the state have services available for children in this age group who are eligible.
Early Intervention services are provided for infants and toddlers with a disability. "Infant and toddler with a disability" means a child, ages birth through two, inclusive, whose birthday falls on or before September 30, or who is eligible to receive services in the Part C early intervention system up to age three, and who:
- has delayed functioning;
- manifests atypical development or behavior;
- has behavioral disorders that interfere with acquisition of developmental skills; or
- has a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in delay, even though no current delay exists. COV § 2.1-760; 34 CFR § 303.16 (a).
Early Intervention Services are provided by the local Infant & Toddler Connection program. Information about local early intervention services can be found at the Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia website.
Developmental delay" means a disability affecting a child ages two by September 30 through six, inclusive: (34 CFR 300.8(b);[ 34 CFR 300.306(b)])
- (i) Who is experiencing developmental delays, as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development, or (ii) who has an established physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay;
- The delay(s) is not primarily a result of cultural factors, environmental or economic disadvantage, or limited English proficiency; and
- The presence of one or more documented characteristics of the delay has an adverse affect on educational performance and makes it necessary for the student to have specially designed instruction to access and make progress in the general educational activities for this age group.
Local school divisions determine the criteria for being found eligibile for services under the developmental delay category.
Early Childhood Special Education services are provided by local school divisions. Local school divisions’ Special Education Departments should be contacted for specific information about their programs – see the public school division directory.
The goals, settings and support personnel needed to assist children grow are different for each child. Staff from the programs listed above, with the child's family, develop an individualized plan with goals and objectives to meet the child’s developmental needs. The goals and objectives include a variety of skills and/or activities for the child to achieve. The people who assist in implementing the plan and in supporting the plan vary depending on the child's needs. The settings for implementing the plan also varies, depending on the child’s needs, age and program.
The long term goal for our preschool aged children is for them to be as ready as possible to enter kindergarten. The earlier services are provided for children with disabilities, the better the long term prognosis. Children with special needs who have experienced support early in life do better in future settings. Research shows that participation in programs with typically developing peers is beneficial to all and enhances the language, social skills, and participation in a typical curriculum. For more information about programs for typically developing peers, contact your local school division or go to Early Childhood Education and Virginia Head Start Association.
A smooth transition from early intervention to special education is also important.
- Sample Eligibilitiy Forms (Word) – sample forms to assist in documenting eligibility determinations.
- Extended School Year Services (PDF)
- Transition from C to B Q A Oct 2010 (PDF)
- Interagency Agreements – Building Collaborative Partnerships
- Order form for "From Crib to Kindergarten: A Guide to Your Child’s Development" (PDF)
- Virginia Foundation Blocks for Early Learning: Comprehensive Standards for Four-Year-Olds (PDF) – describes specific indicators for pre-kindergarten children in the content areas of reading and mathematics.
- Preschool Curriculum Review Rubric and Planning Tool (PDF)
- Virginia Parent Resource Centers (PDF)
- Indicator 7
- Indicator 12
- State Government
- T/TAC Events – look up Virginia's Early Childhood Conference, held in July.
- Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia
- Milestones of Child Development
- Office of Early Childhood Development
- Partnership for People with Disabilities
- Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)
- Smart Beginnings
- Together We Can (deaf/blind project)
- Federal Government
- Early Childhood Outcomes Center
- National Institute for Child Health and Human Development
- National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
- National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC)
- Recognition and Response
- U.S. Dept of Education – Early Childhood
- Yes I Can (White House Education/No Child Left Behind site)
- Family Support
- The ARC Family Involvement Project (ARC-FIP)
- Beach Center on Disabilities
- The Family Center on Technology and Disability
- Family Connect: For Parents of Children with visual impairments
- Foundation for a Better Life
- Medical Home Plus Virginia
- National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies
- Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC)
- Research and Training Center on Family Support and Children's Mental Health
- Smart Kids with Learning Disabilities
- Syndromes Without A Name (SWAN)
- Virginia Child Care Resource and Referral Network
- Information Clearinghouses
- Birth to Five Policy Alliance
- Closing the Gap
- Council for Exceptional Children (CEC)
- Division for Early Childhood (DEC)
- National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
- National Head Start Association
- TASH - Equity, Opportunity, & Inclusion for people with disabilities
- Virginia Head Start Association
- Zero to Three
- Foundation for Child Development
- National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER)
- Pre-K Now – national research and advocacy for quality preschool education.
- Professional Development
- Early Childhood Community
- National Center for Early Development and Learning
- Resource Guide
- Natural Resources
- Crosswalks - Outreach to Infuse Diversity in Preservice Education.
- Doing What Works – Early Childhood Education
- National Center for Special Education Personnel and Related Service Providers
- Center for Implementing Technology in Education (CITEd)
- SpecialQuest – inclusion supported by embedding the SpecialQuest approach, materials, and resources into professional development and service systems.