IDEA in the Preschool Classroom
IDEA Part B focus is on the school age children including preschoolers. Part C focuses on babies and toddlers up to three years of age. Part C of IDEA is a federal grant program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities that assists each state in operating a comprehensive program that involves early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities, ages birth through age 2 years, and their families. Each state must assure that early intervention will be available to every eligible child and its family. If a student shows a need to continue on with educational services they will fall under part B of IDEA. IDEA is divided into six major principles, each of which affects the students and teachers in various ways.
IDEA in the Preschool Classroom In 1986 congress established the Part C (Early Intervention) program in recognition of "an urgent and substantial need" to: enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities; reduce educational costs by minimizing the need for special education through early intervention; minimize the likelihood of institutionalization, and maximize independent living; and, enhance the capacity of families to meet their child's needs. (Wrightslaw 2014)
Part C of IDEA is a federal grant program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities that assists each state in operating a comprehensive program that involves early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities, ages birth through age 2 years, and their families. Each state must assure that early intervention will be available to every eligible child and its family. The state governor must also designate a lead agency to receive the grant and administer the program, and appoint an Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC), including parents of young children with disabilities, to advise and assist the lead agency. Currently, all states and eligible territories are participating in the Part C program. Annual funding to each state is based upon census figures of the number of children, birth through 2, in the general population. (Wrightslaw 2014)
President Bush signed legislation reauthorizing IDEA in 2004. The current IDEA 2004 Statute (P.L. 108-446) for Part C contains many requirements states have to meet. These include identifying the minimum components of comprehensive statewide early intervention system. Each state has some discretion when setting the criteria for child eligibility, including whether or not to serve at risk children. Because of this the eligibility definition is different from state to state.
Under IDEA, evaluation and assessments is provided at no cost to the childs parent. Students will be evaluated in the areas of speech and language skills, physical abilities, hearing and vision, and other important areas of development. The results will be evaluated to find out whether or not your child is eligible for early intervention services. As part of the evaluation, the multidisciplinary team will also observe, interact, and use other tools to gather additional information on the student. The team will then meet with the family to discuss the findings and determine eligibility for services under Part C.
Part C eligibility is determined by each state's definition of developmental delay and if it includes children at risk for disabilities in the eligibility procedure. An important part of the evaluation process for infants and toddlers (ages 0 - 36 months) is informed clinical opinion of professionals experienced with the development of very young children. States have been given a lot of discretion for determining eligibility for entry into their programs. If your child is determined to be eligible, the next step is to create an IFSP. (Wrightslaw 2014)
Some students will need to be transitioned out of Part C into Part B (Special Education). If this is the case then the team