What happens when children turn 3 years of age?
Children are able to receive early intervention services through the Infants and Toddlers Program (ITP) until they turn 3. When children approach their 3rd birthday, there are steps that must be taken in order to determine whether or not they will need to receive special education services as a 3 year old preschooler.
Step 1: Exit Assessment (around 31-32 months of age)
The ITP case manager will begin the transition process by completing an exit assessment. This will help determine a child’s current strengths, needs, and skill levels.
Step 2: Transition Meeting (around 32-33 months of age)
The results from the exit assessment will be reviewed with each family/caregiver at a "Transition Meeting". Based on results, recommendations may include either ending services and referring to community resources if age appropriate skills are determined or referring to Child Find to determine eligibility for special education preschool services.
In addition, families will be given a list of necessary documents that MUST be provided by the date of the entry evaluation (See Step 3). This list includes:
- A copy of your child's birth certificate
- A current copy of your child's immunization/shot record (if the copy in ITP records is not up-to-date)
- Two proofs of residency in Anne Arundel County, Maryland
- one must be a copy of your deed/lease or a mortgage/rent bill that includes caregivers name and current address.
- other may include a utility bill, current bank statement, income tax statement, social security check, passport, Visa, or a voter registration card.
Step 3: Entry Evaluation with Child Find (around 34 months of age)
If a family is interested in seeing whether or not their child is eligible for special education services when he/she turns 3, the child’s ITP service coordinator will invite the family to an evaluation with Child Find. This evaluation will take place approximately 2 months prior to the child’s 3rd birthday, and will most likely take place at one of their 2 locations – Point Pleasant Resource Center in Glen Burnie or Central Special in Edgewater. During this evaluation, a family will discuss their concerns about their child’s development and the Child Find team – consisting of a Speech/Language Pathologist, Special Educator, Occupational Therapist and/or Physical Therapist will gather information in the areas that are of concern. They can gather this information through formal, standardized assessment that will take place that day; or they can use the information already available to them (through ITP assessments) and go out to observe the child during one of their ITP sessions. Either way, family will need to come back to a 2nd meeting approximately 1 month prior to their child’s 3rd birthday in order to discuss results of testing/observations and document whether or not their child is eligible for special education services when they turn 3.
Step 4: Eligibility Determination Meeting (around 35 months of age)
This meeting will serve to formally determine whether or not a child meets the criteria to receive special education services, following the Child Find evaluation. In order to be eligible for special education services when he/she turns 3, a child must have one of 14 educational disabilities that negatively impacts his/her ability to successfully participate in preschool level activities. These disabilities include: Developmental Delay; Speech or Language Impairment; Autism; Multiple Disabilities; Hearing Impairment; Deafness; Visual Impairment; Deaf-Blindness; Intellectual Disability; Orthopedic Impairment; Other Health Impairment; Emotional Disability; Traumatic Brain Injury; Specific Learning Disability.
Step 5: IEP/IFSP extension meeting (around 35 months of age)
If a disability is determined and a child is eligible to receive special education services, a follow-up IEP meeting will be scheduled to develop an appropriate program to meet the child’s needs. The program could either be an Individualized Education Program (IEP) or an Individualized Family Service Plan- Extended to the beginning of the school year following a child’s 4th birthday (Extended IFSP). Resources about this decision are available to families on the Maryland State Department of Education (A Family Guide to Next Steps). Primary differences between IEP and IFSP are: An IEP is a child centered, school year document (with an Extended School Year option for some children) that can be implemented in either a public school or community based location. An IFSP is a family centered, year round document that can be implemented in a child’s natural setting only (see Community Based Services Options below).
- This program will include strengths and needs, targeted goals or outcomes, services, and frequency of service.
- Services will begin following a child's third birthday and all services through the Infants and Toddlers Program will be ended.
SERVICE OPTIONS AVAILABLE FOR CONSIDERATION BASED ON YOUR CHILD’S STRENGTHS AND NEEDS
Option 1: Community Based Services (known as CBS)
- Geared towards children with mild to moderate delays in one or more developmental areas. Community-based settings are defined as services that are provided in a private preschool, childcare setting, Head Start, as well as other site-based locations.
- Focus is on integrating children into their natural environments with typically developing peers.
- Service providers come to the school or site to provide support/intervention.
Option 2: Single Services
- Most commonly used for children only receiving speech therapy due to difficulties with articulation (producing speech utterances that can be accurate and understood appropriately for a child's age).
- Services are often provided by a school-based speech language pathologist at the child's local elementary school, a nearby elementary school, or within a community-based setting.
- Sessions may be individual or a small group, consisting of 1-2 other children of similar ages and demonstrating similar needs.
Option 3: Early Childhood Intervention (ECI)
- Pre-school classes offered through the public school system that provide intensive instruction to children with significant developmental delays.
- ECI classes are located in elementary schools in a variety of locations.
- Class sizes are kept small (8-12 children) with at least 1 certified special education teacher and 1 teaching assistant per classroom. In addition, other related service providers (Speech Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, etc.) can provide services in the classroom if needed as well.
- The duration of the class is 2 1/2 hours per day. The frequency of services is determined by the needs of the child as documented on the IEP..
- There are times when a combination of CBS (community based service offered in private pre-school) along with ECI (early childhood intervention) is possible and can be discussed amongst the team members (including parents) involved with each child.
- For children who will transition into a preschool special education classroom with special healthcare needs, a nursing assessment or health appraisal will need to be completed by a nurse affiliated with the Infants and Toddlers Program. This is to ensure the safety of your child before he or she transitions to a school setting.