The Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) ends when a child turns 3. A transition to a preschool plan with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) requires a new evaluation and is a team-led process:
Planning begins 6-9 months before the third birthday.
- The Family Resource Coordinator (FRC) schedules a transition conference to design a written Transition Plan.
- The transition includes an evaluation that is conducted by the local school district and usually begins 2-3 months before the child’s third birthday.
- If the child is determined eligible, the child will transition from a family-centered program of early learning (IFSP) into a school-based program (IEP).
- Parent participation is critical: You are an important member of the transition planning team!
To qualify for an IEP, the child must meet evaluation criteria under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Criteria for Birth-3 services (Part C of the IDEA) are slightly different than the criteria for Special Education programming available for ages 3-21 (Part B of the IDEA).
To qualify for an IEP: (1) The student is determined to have a qualifying disability. (2) The disability adversely impacts education. (3) The evaluation indicates a need for specially designed instruction.
IDEA Part C
|IDEA Part B|
(Also called Special Education – IEP)
|25% or 1.5 SD (Standard Deviation) Below the mean in one area of development – OR-||2 SD (Standard Deviation ) below the mean in one or more areas of development – OR –|
|Diagnosed physical or medical condition that has a high probability of resulting in delay||1.5 SD below the mean in two or more areas of development|
Qualifying Disability Categories for IEP:
- Developmental Delay (ages 3-8)
- Specific Learning Disability
- Intellectual Disability
- Hearing Impairment
- Emotional Disturbance
- Multiple Disabilities
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Other Health Impairment
- Speech/Language Impairment
- Traumatic Brain Injury
A child who doesn’t qualify for an IEP:
- May qualify for a Section 504 plan, which provides accommodations under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 when:
- The disability significantly limits one or more major life activities.
- The student needs accommodations to access the general education curriculum.
- May qualify for other services like Head Start, co-operative pre-school, paid pre-school or day care with early achievers, play-to-learn programs, and other early learning opportunities in a community setting.
Use this checklist to help track your family’s transition steps:
6-9 months before the child’s third birthday:
- The Family Resource Coordinator (FRC) starts talking about transition.
- The FRC transmits your child’s records to the school system, with your written consent. The most recent IFSP and evaluations/assessments are included.
- If your child is potentially eligible for Part B services, a transition conference is scheduled.
- Community resources are located.
- Parent’s rights in special education are explained.
- Options for early childhood special education and other appropriate services are discussed.
- A transition time line is developed.
- A transition plan is written into the IFSP.
- If you agree, you sign consent for evaluation.
- Records from Early Intervention Services are received at the school.
- Information from the family is considered.
- Evaluation is completed, and the eligibility meeting is held within 35 school days so that an IEP can be developed before the child’s third birthday.
- The IEP meeting is scheduled with a formal written invitation with date, time and location.
- Discussion and decision-making include the family, the FRC (with parent permission), and an early childhood special education staff member.
- Eligibility for special education is decided.
- If the child is eligible, the Draft IEP is brought to the team meeting and you will have the opportunity to agree or disagree.
- You receive a copy of your rights and procedural safeguards.
- If you agree, you sign consent for services to begin.
The IEP in action:
- The child makes the transition from Early Intervention to Early Childhood Special Education or another pre-kindergarten arrangement, if chosen.
- The IEP is in place by our child’s third birthday.
- The team of professionals and parents continue working together to resolve any issues that arise.
- All IEP team members communicate during this time of change.