Navigating the System


Soon your child will be celebrating their 3rd birthday. Along with birthday celebrations will come a change in your child’s services. He or she will be moving on from their Early Start Program, which is family driven and medically based, to a school program, which is educationally based.  This can be an exciting time but also a time of worry as you transition your child’s services. These resources will help guide you through the process of transitioning to preschool services, and will help you to navigate this move from your family program to a school program.

Remember all transitions are difficult and that you will get through this with time, patience and support.

If your child is approaching their third birthday, and you have concerns regarding developmental milestones or their overall progress:
You have a team waiting to assist you!

Things You Should Do:

  • Gather all related reports that might assist professionals in getting to know your almost preschooler.
  • Contact your resident school district’s special education office, to better understand the process.
  • Know you are not in this alone; there are educational professionals to assist you.
  • Keep notes of your concerns and your child’s progress. You know your child best.

Contact Special Education Department at Resident School District with Concerns:  

  • Parents with developmental or behavioral concerns request (in writing) an assessment to determine eligibility for special education services.
  • District has 15 days to send an assessment plan (or letter stating reasons why assessment will not be completed).

Assessment Process

District receives signed assessment plan from parent.

  • Parent shares other relevant information (medical reports, private evaluations).
  • District has 60 days to complete assessment and hold an IEP meeting.
  • Parent makes child available during school hours.
  • District assesses in area of suspected disability.
  • District determines if child is eligible, based on 13 federally established disabilities.
  • District makes reports available prior to IEP meeting (if requested).
  • Parent reviews reports and contacts district with questions.