Each public agency must conduct a full and individual initial evaluation (FIIE) before providing special education and related services to a child with a disability (34 CFR 300.301(a)). To participate in the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities, the child may be three, four or five years old, and not yet old enough to be enrolled in kindergarten. The child must be evaluated and meet eligibility criteria for at least one of the IDEA disability categories. Subsequently, an ARD Committee determines if the child needs special education and/or related services (34 CFR 300.8(a)(1)). The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recognizes the following disability categories:
- Auditory Impairment
- Emotional Disturbance
- Learning Disability
- Intellectual Disability
- Multiple Impairment
- Non-Categorical Early Childhood
- Other Health Impairment
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Speech Impairment
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visual Impairment
Special education means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. Specially designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child under this part, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction - to address the unique needs of the child that result from the child's disability; and to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children (34 CFR 300.39(a)).
Each public agency must ensure that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily (34 CFR 300.114(a)).
Each public agency must ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services. The continuum must include instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions; and make provision for supplementary services (such as resource room or itinerant instruction) to be provided in conjunction with regular class placement (34 CFR 300.115(b)).
For Infant and Toddlers with vision or auditory impairments, services may be provided through Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) from birth until three years old. OCISD's ECI program is Teach Your Kids Early (TYKE). Eligible students receive services under an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP).
What We Do
Provide services to eligible 3, 4, and 5-year-old children with disabilities in Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities
- For children referred prior to age three as a referral through an early intervention program while receiving services through ECI, special education services must be made available to the child on his or her third birthday if the child is found eligible.
- A child who is four years old on or before September 1st and meets district pre-kindergarten requirements may enroll in the district's pre-kindergarten program. Certain guidelines must be met for pre-kindergarten attendance.
- A student must be five years of age on or before September 1st to participate in the district's kindergarten program.
- If the child is to be evaluated by our Arena Assessment Team for Preschool Children, the child participates in a screening and parent completes appropriate referral paperwork, notice and consent. Based on the referral information, the assessment will be assigned to an arena assessment team or a speech-language pathologist. The evaluation team and/or the SLP completes the evaluation.
The evaluation must include:
- A comprehensive measure of intelligence,
- A measure of adaptive behavior,
- Age appropriate developmental/academic evaluation,
- A speech/language evaluation,
- A psychological evaluation if emotional or behavioral concerns are present,
- An assistive technology/augmentative communication assessment if determined to be necessary by the speech-language pathologist or diagnostic specialist upon review of the referral paperwork, and
- Other Health Impairment (OHI) disability forms will be presented to the parent by the diagnostic specialist if relevant information is provided to determine its relevance.
The Speech/Language Pathologist completes the evaluation and report for a student with primary speech and language needs.
The Diagnostic Specialist from the arena assessment team compiles the evaluation report for a student who participated in an arena assessment by combining report information from all specialists involved in the assessment. This report includes a recommendation for eligibility and placement for the ARD committee to use and consider when determining eligibility and placement. The lead PPCD teacher assures the space is available at the appropriate campus for the recommendation.
The Diagnostic Specialist at the child's home campus schedules the initial ARD/IEP committee within 30 calendar days of the FIIE date and prior to the child's third birthday if the referral comes through ECI. Otherwise, the ARD must be held within 30 calendar days of the completion of the report.
The ARD/IEP is held at the home campus and the teacher of the proposed receiving school is invited so that the committee can review the results of the FIIE report. The recommendations for eligibility and programming placements are discussed and reviewed with parental input. The committee determines eligibility and programming.
Assessment personnel are responsible for:
- Developing the objectives and goals for the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) based on recommendations in the FIE report.
Home Campus personnel are responsible for:
- Holding the ARD/IEP meeting at the home campus and inviting the members from the campus which has the recommended/proposed program
- Submitting a request for transportation if appropriate.
- Completing PEIMs information
Receiving Campus personnel are responsible for:
- Ensuring enrollment is complete
- Providing the program as specified in the ARD/IEP
- Completing and submitting the initial Child Outcome Summary Form (COSF)
Speech Therapy Services are provided by a licensed or certified Speech/Language Pathologist (SLP) and may be provided in a variety of ways. Speech Therapy may take place at the home campus or the attending campus. Speech Therapy may be at a centralized school location as part of the Communication Acquisition Program for Preschoolers (CAPP). Speech Therapy Services are provided in Spanish by a licensed assistant SLP or certified Speech/Language Pathologist (SLP) at a centralized school location as part of the bilingual program when deemed necessary by the assessment personnel and ARD committee.
Co-Teacher Services are provided when the special education PPCD teacher works collaboratively with the Pre-K or Kindergarten teacher to provide instruction in the general education setting in the community preschool setting or in a campus-based general education preschool program.
In Class Support Services are provided when a special education teacher or special education paraprofessional provides instructional support services for preschoolers with disabilities in the general education pre-kindergarten or kindergarten classes.
Self-Contained Services are provided by a special education teacher and special education paraprofessional(s) in a special education class.
It is important to note that when a PPCD placement is considered by the ARD committee, the default placement decision is a half-day, which is consistent with the general education preschool programming. There may be ARD Committee decisions for individual students which indicate services should be provided longer than a half-day.