Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)
What is ECSE?
ECSE stands for Early Childhood Special Education. ECSE (formerly known as PPCD) programs are not limited to a self-contained classroom on an elementary or early childhood campus. The law requires a full continuum of services to educate young children with disabilities. Local Education Agencies (school districts and charter schools) offer services to preschoolers with disabilities in a variety of settings based on the child's individual needs, always considering services in the least restrictive environment (Head Start, Pre-K/Kindergarten general education classroom) first.
How does a child qualify for ECSE services?
Children qualify for ECSE services through the special education referral process. Once a referral is made, the Local Education Agency (LEA) must meet all timelines for initial evaluation. If the child is transitioning from Part C to Part B services, the LEA must work with the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) provider to meet required deadlines for a timely transition. (For further questions regarding timelines, please contact Education Service Center, Region 20 evaluation staff.) The ARD committee determines if the child is eligible for services and what those services will be by creating an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for the child. Individuals who suspect that a child may have a disability that would have an adverse effect on that child’s ability to learn, should contact their local school district.
Can a child be in ECSE and Pre-Kindergarten or Head Start?
Yes. It is important to remember, however, that a child’s ARD committee determines placement. If a child is eligible to attend Prekindergarten or Head Start, the child may be served in those classes. Children may even be placed in a Prekindergarten or Head Start class if they are not eligible, as long as they do not prevent an eligible child from attending. At least 10% of the enrollment opportunities provided by Head Start are made available to children with disabilities with an active recruitment effort.
Can a child be in ECSE and private school at the same time?
Parents of an eligible student ages 3 or 4 shall have the right to "dual enroll" their student in both the public school and the private school beginning on the student's third birthday and continuing until the end of the school year in which the student turns five or until the student is eligible to attend a district's public school kindergarten program, whichever comes first. The public school district where a student resides is responsible for providing special education and related services to a student whose parents choose dual enrollment.
ESC-20 ECSE Support
ESC-20 ECSE Consultants provide professional development and technical assistance for teachers of students with disabilities ages 3-5 years (birth - 5 years for students with visual and/or hearing impairments). Training and technical assistance are available in the developmentally appropriate practices for young children with disabilities. Please contact Sarah Ford or Diana Glass for additional information or to discuss your training/technical assistance needs.