Part C to B:
An interview with Lori Miranda, Pre-K ESE Program Administrator School District of Palm Beach County Department of Exceptional Student Education on Pre-School Exceptional Student Education Services
When should parents expect to be contacted from the school district? Or should who should the parents contact at the district or school when their child is around 2 ¼ to 2 ½?
Families should contact Early Steps if they suspect their child may need intervention services between birth and the age of 2. Families receiving services from Early Steps will participate in a transition conference by the 3rd birthday, at which time they will move from the IFSP to an IEP and be offered a program in the district to continue support of the IEP goals. For families not entering our district through Early Steps, parents would want to contact Child Find, yes, around 2 yrs 4 mo as it does, unfortunately, take a long time to screen, evaluate, and conference.
How is the school assignment determined? Do they have a choice of which public school to send their child?
The program will be determined at the eligibility meeting with Child Find. The school is assigned based on the appropriate program that is closest to the home/childcare center that can best serve the needs of the child. Parents do not have a choice.
Are there any other options than public school?
Some private and charter schools offer speech and/or language services, but we do not provide direct instruction beyond that. Parents should contact private/charter schools directly to discuss their individual needs.
Anything about transportation – I would expect parents to be fearful of putting their 3 year old on a school bus
Many parents are afraid of the bus- don’t blame them, I would too! We do have buses that are only for PreK students, so they are not mixed with older children. They also have appropriate restraints on the buses. Many parents find ways to transport, but many, many others do not have that option.
What are some questions they should be asking at the staffing/IEP meeting? Is there anything a parent needs to bring to the staffing/IEP meeting/to the school?
I stress to parents that they need to be informed as they are their child’s first and lifelong advocate, write a list of questions, and feel free to bring someone else along who maybe has some knowledge or experience.
When is the child evaluated for more serious disabilities?
Child Find will do a screening. Any child who presents with concerns will be scheduled for a full evaluation. Students are re-evaluated prior to kindergarten. Sometimes students do not present a true picture when Child Find is testing, so the school can always request consent for further testing. (ex. autism).
Would you be able to explain what a typical day would look like in a DD class? Does the district have any videos showing parents what a DD class is like?
No videos, but the day depends on the program. Students needing speech and/or language services receive those services pushed into the classroom (not pulled out) during the natural routines of the day. The programs are run very much like any preschool classroom with morning meetings, small/large group activities/center time- all with embedded learning opportunities and individualized instruction.
Recommended websites, YouTube videos, books on this topic?
Floridaearlylearning.com: As part of the Florida Department of Education, the Office of Early Learning dedicates its people, time and energy to ensuring access, affordability and quality of early learning services for the state’s children and families. Click Here for more on Early Learning. Click Here for more resources.
Additional resources for families’ birth to 5:
Floridaearlylearning.com: Florida adopted the Florida Early Learning and Developmental Standards (2017) in Fall 2017. The standards and benchmarks reflect the knowledge and skills that a child on a developmental progression should know and be able to do at the end of an age-related timeframe. Click Here for more resources on standards and benchmarks.
Written by: Iris Neil