Early Childhood Special Education

The Early Childhood Special Education (ESCE) Program serves children from birth to age 7 that meet state criteria for the Developmentally Delayed category (criteria below).  Services are provided for developmental delays ranging from mild to severe.  Referrals come from a variety of sources, including; daycare providers, doctors, teachers and parents.  This referral begins the special education process.  After the child has been assessed and qualifies for services, an IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan) for birth to age 3 or an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) for children ages 3 - 7 is completed.  Such a plan gives goals and objectives for the child.  Special Education Services can be provided in a variety of settings, such as; the child's home, day care setting or school setting.  Concerns that may lead to a referral can include; delays in developmental milestones, delays in speech and language, suspected hearing or vision loss, health concern or physical disability and emotional/social concerns.

Our Philosophy
The purpose of early intervention is to promote the educational development of each identified child with special needs.  Early intervention services are most effective when they support the family and work in conjunction with community resources.

Why Early Intervention Services?
- To help children with special needs grow, develop and learn.
- To decrease problems in the future.
- To help families meet the special needs of their children.

Early Intervention Services
Early intervention services are provided according to a written individualized plan which coordinates the services provided by all agencies involved.  These services are provided at no cost except where federal or state law provides for system of payments by families, including a schedule of sliding fees.  Services must be provided to eligible children birth to 7 and their families and must be appropriate to the child's level of functioning and needs.  Our services may be provided through existing programs and services, if the individual needs of the child can be met or they be provided through programs in which children with disabilities are served with children without disabilities.  Examples of these services include; family training and home visits, speech pathology and audiology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological services, case management services/service coordination, early identification, screening and assessment services.
Early intervention services are provided by qualified personnel, including; early childhood special educators, speech language pathologists and audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, social workers, vision consultants, teachers of hard of hearing and deaf, autism specialists and adaptive physical education professionals.

What Should I know About Early Intervention?
- You and your family are critical to the success of intervention for your child with special needs.
- Teaching/learning activities should have a clear purpose and make sense to your child and family.
- Opportunities for your child to participate in a variety of activities should be encouraged.
- Your child's toys and activities should be similar to those of children his or her age.
- Your child learns better when skills are taught as a part of everyday activities.
- Your family must be included in planning all parts of the program.

State Developmentally Delayed Criteria
Children age Birth to 2 years, 11 months:
- Meets criteria of one of the other disability categories, or
- Medically diagnosed syndrome or condition, or overall developmental delay, or if less than 18 months old, a motor development delay, and
- Need for instruction is supported by at least one documented systematic observation in routine setting, and
- Developmental or medical assessment is corroborated with a developmental history and at least one other assessment, procedure conducted on a different day

Children age 3 to 6 years, 11 months:
- Meets criteria of one of the other disability categories, or
- Medically diagnosed syndrome or condition, or delay in each of two or more areas of development, and
- Need for instruction is supported by at least one documented systematic observation in routine setting, and
- Developmental or medical assessment is corroborated with a developmental history and at least one other assessment procedure conducted on a different day

Referral Contacts:
Ages Birth to 3:
Jenny Kapernick
jkapernick@mved.org

Ages 3 - 5:
Donna Swenson 
(507) 554-4716