Diagnosis and Assessment:
If a child is receiving services through Early Steps Program at the age of 2 ½, the child will be referred to the school district during the transition planning meeting. This meeting occurs 90 days before the child’s third birthday. If your child has had an IFSP (Individual Family Support Plan) in place for at least six months with Early Steps, and if your child is potentially eligible for school district Pre-K services, either Early Steps or the school district may administer an evaluation.
If you are new to Florida or you feel your child may have a developmental delay, Child Find can be contacted to begin a referral for an evaluation. Child Find provides service coordination for diagnositic screening and placement into programs for children from age three to twenty-one.
In Florida, the Battelle Developmental Inventory-2 (BDI-2) is the evaluation tool used to determine your child’s progress. This evaluation will be scheduled at a time that works for you and your child, and the information is shared, with your permission, when your child transitions. The evaluation will address the following questions:
- Does the child have a developmental delay or disability?
- What are the child’s present levels of performance?
- Does the child’s developmental delay or disability have an adverse affect on the child’s ability to participate in and benefit from age-appropriate activities?
- Does the child need special education and related services?
To answer those questions, an evaluation will look at relevant cognitive, behavioral, physical, developmental, and other factors. It involves gathering information from many sources about the child’s functioning and development in all areas of suspected developmental delay or disability.
The parent plays an important role by sharing helpful information such as medical reports or the results of private evaluations. Parents are the expert on their child and know what their child has learned already. The parent also knows the child likes and dislikes and how the child likes to play. This information can be used to determine the child’s educational and developmental needs.
What is the referral process?
If you are interested in school district services, you will be given information about the process for determining eligibility for the school district program. You will be asked to sign a consent form so your child ̓s information can be shared with the school district. The school district will review information provided by Early Steps and your child ̓s service providers to determine if your child is eligible for school district services, or if there is a need further evaluation. If further evaluation is recommended, an appointment will be arranged with you. Once the evaluations are completed, you will be invited to a meeting to discuss your child ̓s potential eligibility for school district services.
Recommended websites, YouTube videos, books on this topic
floridatransitionproject.ucf.edu: Florida’s Transition Project for Infants, Young Children and their Families. This website provides support to families of children with disabilities from birth to six years old. Click Here for the website.
tats.ucf.edu: TATS Talks to Families are short articles for families of young children with unique needs written to provide information about Pre-K program options, the Individual Education Plan and the transition process. Included is a guide to the acronyms related to Exceptional Student Education. Click Here for the guide.
fldoe.org: A Booklet to Help Children and families Transition from Early Steps at Age Three to Other Community Programs. Click Here This booklet is designed to assist families who have young children with disabilities and special needs move from one agency or program to another. Moving from program to program is called transition.
pacer.org: What You Need to Know before Your Child’s Third Birthday: Early childhood Transition Guidebook. Click Here This guidebook includes information on what transition is, how and when to plan for it, how to determine if your child is eligible for Preschool Special Education services, how to implement the transition plan, and what to do if your child is not eligible for special education services. You’ll find tips and facts that can help you plan for this important change in services before you light those three candles.
Questions or observations recommended for parents
- How will eligibility be determined?
- What are the different ways services can be provided?
- Whom do we contact if we want to visit a program or classroom?
- What tests and evaluation materials are being considered for my child and why?
- How will the information be used to plan my child’s education?
- How will my child’s native language and culture be taken into consideration during testing?
- What will be done to help my child feel comfortable during the testing session?
- What does my child need now to grow and develop?
Florida diagnostic and learning resource system. Child Find
Pacer Center Inc What you need to know before your child’s third birthday: early childhood transition guidebook.
TATS talks with families. About the transiton process volume 1 number 1 2011
Written by: Iris Neil