Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Developmental Preschool and Birth to 3 Program

I have got quite a few messages in regards to developmental preschool and the Birth to 3 program. I live to the state of Washington so the terms and timelines that I use are always based upon the state that I live in. Most states have similar programs, they may just be called something else and the timelines may just be a bit different. I am going to refer to adverse educational impact and severe discrepancy quite a bit in this post. If you are not familiar with those terms you can read more here: http://www.diaryofanautismmom.com/2016/04/evaluation-and-iep-blog-post-3-what-is.html

The birth to three program is for any child who is from the ages of birth to three. If a parent notices any developmental concern they can make a referral to the local birth to three program. Typically, the best way to find the contact information for this program is by calling your school district's special education department. They should be able to initiate the referral or point you in the right direction. When a parent self refers into this program the child does not need a diagnosis. There just needs to be a severe discrepancy in an area of development such as speech, social emotional, gross motor, cognitive, and fine motor. Please note that what you may deem to be a severe delay may not necessarily be enough to qualify for the birth to three program. I just referred my two year old son to this program due to a speech delay and he did not qualify. He has a speech delay due to multiple ear infections that caused quite a bit of fluid in his ear that ended up impacting his hearing. He had tubes placed and his hearing is now in the normal range, but his speech is still significantly delayed. The birth to three program evaluated him and all areas of development were in the average range except for his speech. His language showed a delay, but there wasn't a big enough delay for it to be considered a severe discrepancy. Please note that if a child does have a diagnosis such as autism there does not need to be a severe discrepancy there just needs to be an adverse educational impact. I also want to add that you can re-refer if your child is still not making gains after a period of time has gone by.

If a child qualifies for the birth to three program they will get put on an IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan). In my school district the child is seen weekly be therapists such as speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and special education teachers. You can refer to this program even if you are already paying for private services. What better way is there to provide your child with additional early intervention?

Developmental preschool begins at age three and goes to age five. When a child qualifies for developmental preschool they are put on an IEP. The eligibility for developmental preschool is very similar to the birth to three program. There needs to be a severe discrepancy in an area such as speech, fine motor, adaptive, social emotional, gross motor, behavior, or cognitive if there is not a diagnosis. If there is a diagnosis such as autism or ADHD there just needs to be an adverse educational impact in one of these areas to qualify in that area on an IEP. When a parent self refers for developmental preschool they need to request that testing be done in all areas that are a concern. My son who is on the autism spectrum attended developmental preschool. I self referred him to the program before he was officially diagnosed with autism. Initially, I just referred for social emotional and behavior. These ended up being the only two goal areas that were put on his IEP. I ended up having to re refer for speech and occupational therapy two months later. These were then put onto his IEP because he had a severe discrepancy in all of these areas. If he were to have had an autism diagnosis at this time there would have only had to be an adverse educational impact instead of proving that there was a severe discrepancy.

My son attended developmental preschool for free four days per week. The school district provided transportation. In addition, he got weekly speech and occupational therapy provided by the school district. He was taught by a special education teacher who progress monitored his goals. Developmental preschool is a great program and in my opinion all parents should refer into it at the earliest sign of a delay. This is a great program and I am so glad that my son was able to be a part of it for two years.

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