Transitioning From Early Intervention
If services are currently being provided by the Early Intervention program, and the child continues to need services, there is a transition process into the Preschool Special Education (PSE) (3–5) system, which is regulated by the State Education Department and administered through the child's school district.
The family’s Early Intervention Service Coordinator is a wonderful source of information concerning the transition process. The process moves in this order:
- The service coordinator discusses the transition process with the parent and gives them a booklet outlining the process.
- With the parent’s permission, the service coordinator submits the child’s name to notify the local school district that the child will transition in either September, or December depending on the child’s birthday. In rare cases, children can transition in July.
- The parent is offered an opportunity to have a Transition Conference with the CPSE (Committee on Preschool Special Education) Chairperson.
- The service coordinator assists the parent with referral to the school district about 4 months prior to the child's third birthday. Parents are strongly encouraged to register their child in the district at this time.
- The parent receives information from the school district and a request to choose an evaluation site. Also, the parent signs a permission to evaluate and sends it back to the school district.
- CPSE requests relevant evaluations of the child’s development to help determine eligibility for continued services.
- A CPSE meeting is held to determine eligibility and what services if any, the child will be receiving and when they will begin as documented on the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). School districts do consider parent and provider recommendations, but the final decision rests with the CPSE.
Children whose third birthdays fall between January 1 and August 31 have to transition on or before September 1. Those who have birthdays between September 1 and December 31, usually transition in January of the following year, but can choose to transition in September.
The biggest differences between EI and PSE Services are:
- No service coordinator is provided by the school district (3–5). However, the school district in partnership with parents becomes responsible for any preschool special education needs of the child.
- The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) focuses more on the educational needs of the child in the 3–5 system. The needs of the family as well as the child are considered more in the Individual Family Service Plan for the Early Intervention program.
- The preschool evaluation must include a test by a psychologist, which looks at the thinking and reasoning ability of the child. It also includes a complete social history.
- Services are provided during the school calendar year, not during holiday breaks or the summer.
Transition from Preschool to School Age Programs
If your child continues to need services as they are entering their kindergarten year, he/she will need to transition to a Committee on Special Education (CSE) run by the local district. With permission, an evaluation would be completed and recommendations made to the CSE for services.