Children with Disabilities
Meeting each child's unique learning needs
Research shows that children with special needs who have experienced support early in life do better in future settings. In Virginia, the federal Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA) requires that Early Childhood Special Education (IDEA Part B) and Early Intervention (IDEA Part C), 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.
What is Early Intervention for infants and toddlers?
Early Intervention services are available for infants and toddlers with a disability.
Early Intervention helps children learn basic skills that typically develop during the first years of life. And it helps parents learn how to incorporate ways to teach their children these skills into every day activities. More about Early Intervention services for infants and toddlers >>
Preschool-aged children from age two through five with a disability may be eligible for Early Childhood Special Education services.
Special Education services are provided by local school divisions’ Special Education Departments. for contact information at local school division, visit the Virginia public school division directory.
More about early childhood special education >>
Smooth transitions from early intervention (birth - age 2) to early childhood special education (age 2-5) and then into Kindergarten are important. Families, children, sending and receiving programs all need to share information and support each other. Transition activities need to be timely to assure access to appropriate services for the child. The transition should also be smooth and seamless between programs, people, and services. More about early childhood transitioning >>
Throughout the Children with Disabilities topic you will find links that take you to the broader Special Education section of the VDOE website that offers information about programs and services for children with disabilities in preschool through grade twelve; and includes information about resolving issues and parent training opportunities.
There are special education resources that are helpful to families of young children with disabilities as they progress through the public education system; including A Parent's Guide to Special Education, a publication developed to help parents understand their rights and responsibilities, their child's rights and the school's responsibilities to meet the special needs of their child.
Also refer to Curriculum & Instruction and Professional Development for early childhood professional standards, instruction practices and professional development resources.
Data Collection & Reporting
In Early Childhood Special Education, there are three performance indicators required by the VDOE Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). School divisions are required to submit information and data for reporting, monitoring and compliance purposes. For Early Childhood Special Education leaders who are responsible for administrative oversight of local ECSE programs, the Data Collection and Reporting section of this website provides resources to improve the collection, reporting and use of ECSE indicator data.
Funding for Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education is provided through the federal Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):
- Early Intervention – Part C of IDEA
- Early Childhood Special Education – Part B of IDEA
- Also refer to Special Education for students in kindergarten through grade 12