Chapter 10: Preschool

    3301-51-11

    10.1 Eligibility - Rule 3301-51-11(C)

    10.2 District Responsibility for FAPE - 3301-51-02(B)(1)

    10.3 Continuum of Service Delivery - 3301-51-11(F)(1-7)

    10.4 Transition from Part C Early Intervention - 3301-51-11(D)(1-4)

    10.1 Eligibility

    State Performance Plan (SPP):

    (See Overview in the Introduction for more information on the SPP.)

    SPP 7:
    A. Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships);
    B. Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (including early language/communication and early literacy; and
    C. Use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs.

    Intent:

    To ensure that each school district of residence conducts a complete initial evaluation or reevaluation in accordance with rule 3301-51-06 of the Administrative Code before the initial provision of special education and related services to a preschool child with a disability residing in the district.

    Timelines:

    Eligible for services at age 3

    Each school district must ensure that the obligation is met to make FAPE available to each eligible child, ages 3 through 5, for whom the school district is the child's school district of residence. Children are eligible for services on the third birthday, even if they are not transitioning from Help Me Grow (HMG). Referrals and evaluations occur early enough to ensure that an IEP is implemented on the child's third birthday for all children transitioning from Part C services.

    No later than the child's third birthday

    Each school district must ensure that the obligation to make FAPE available to each eligible child for whom the school district is the child’s school district of residence begins on the child’s third birthday. For children who transition from Help Me Grow, an individualized educational program (IEP) must be in effect for the child by that date.

    For children entering Help Me Grow 46-90 days before the third birthday, districts must work with the service coordinator to conduct joint (not duplicative) evaluations to ensure that Help Me Grow can develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) for transition and the district can develop an IEP by the child's third birthday.

    For children who are suspected of having a disability and enter Help Me Grow 45 days or less before the third birthday, Help Me Grow will refer the child directly to the district or assist the parents are contacting the district. Because these children will not have an IFSP or be provided early intervention services, this referral does not require an IEP by the third birthday. Since the child has not had early intervention, the district should consider appropriate timelines to secure necessary services (30 days for consent, 60 days for evaluation and 30 days for an IEP; 120 days maximum from referral).

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-06
    (B) Initial evaluations
    (1) General
    Each school district of residence must conduct a full individual evaluation, in accordance with this rule, before the initial provision of special education and related services under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, as amended by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, December 2004 (IDEA) to a child with a disability residing in the school district.

    3301-51-11
    (C) Eligibility
    Each school district of residence must conduct a full and individual evaluation in accordance with rule 3301-51-06 of the Administrative Code before the initial provision of special education and related services to a preschool child with a disability residing in the district.
    (1) Sufficient information shall be obtained using a variety of information sources to confirm that a disability exists.

    • No single source of information shall be used to determine if a preschool child is eligible or not eligible for special education and related services. Eligibility for special education and related services as a preschool child shall be determined on the basis of multiple sources of information, including, but not limited to:

      (a) Information from Part C for children transitioning from early intervention services;

      (b) Structured observations in more than one setting and in multiple activities;

      (c) Information provided by the parent or caregiver; and

      (d) Criterion-referenced and norm-referenced evaluations.

    (2) Based on the variety of sources of information listed in paragraphs (C)(1)(a) to (C)(1)(d) of this rule, a group of qualified professionals and the parent of the child shall determine if the child has a disability and is eligible for special education and related services as a preschool child with a disability.

    (3) The following developmental areas must be assessed with at least one source of information listed in paragraphs (C)(1)a) and (C)(1)(d) of this rule:

    (a) Adaptive behavior;
    (b) Cognition;
    (c) Communication;
    (d) Hearing;
    (e) Vision;
    (f) Sensory/Motor function;
    (g) Social-emotional functioning; and
    (h) Behavioral functioning.

    GUIDANCE

    Eligibility determined with disability category

    The federal law indicates that the disability categories apply to ages 3 through 21. States have reported preschool children in categories since 1997. There are three scenarios for a child to be eligible for preschool special education:

    • The child meets the criteria of a disability category;
    • The child has been found eligible by meeting the criteria of cognitive disability, emotional disturbance or speech or language impairment and the team determines the use of the term "developmental delay" is more appropriate. No additional assessment is required to use the developmental delay category since the child has been found eligible; or
    • The child does not fit a disability category but has a documented deficit in physical, cognitive, communication, social or emotional development; or has a documented deficit in adaptive behavior and meets the definition of developmental delay. Physical development would include vision, hearing and motor skills.

    Four assessments in needed area of disability

    To determine eligibility for a preschooler with a disability, the following methods are required:

    • Structured interview with persons knowledgeable about the child's functioning;
    • Criterion-referenced evaluations;
    • Norm-referenced tests;
    • Structured observations of the child in more than one setting and in multiple activities; and
    • Information from HMG if transitioning to preschool.

    To determine eligibility, all methods must be used to confirm the disability. Data obtained through all four methods may not agree. The team of qualified individuals determining eligibility would decide if sufficient data is available to make a determination. Informed team consent on eligibility is the purview of the team.

    All developmental domain areas, however, must be assessed by using at least one method of evaluation. The method and the tool used to evaluate does not need to be the same for all domains.

    Eligibility for articulation problems

    The category of speech or language impairment can include articulation errors. However a district must be sure that the articulation errors considered are not developmentally appropriate speech errors. In addition, deficits in articulation would have to indicate a communication delay where special education, not intervention, is necessary.

    Preschooler with a disability eligibility determination

    Part of the discussion determining eligibility should include the differentiation between the child who needs interventions as part of the regular education environment and therefore is not a preschooler with a disability and the child who needs specially designed instruction and related services to address the child's disability and who is a preschooler with a disability. A district should consider the opportunities for partnerships within the early learning community so children can be placed in the LRE and receive supports and sevices through direct and consultative models. (See Introduction - 1.3 LRE)

    • A district is advised to evaluate historical trends on eligibility as well as the number of children determined to be eligible in comparison to 5 percent of the ages 3 through 5 population. If there is a discrepancy between the number of children identified by the district and the percent population figure, the district should determine why the discrepancy occurs and plan accordingly.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-11
    (C) Eligibility
    (5)A preschool child with a disability is a child who has one of the following disabilities, as defined in rule 3301-51-01 of the Administrative Code, based upon the evidence required in paragraph (C)(1) to (C)(3) of this rule, and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services:

    (a) Autism;
    (b) Cognitive disability;
    (c) Deaf-blindness;
    (d) Deafness;
    (e) Emotional disturbance;
    (f) Hearing impairment;
    (g) Multiple disabilities;
    (h) Orthopedic impairment;
    (i) Other health impairment;
    (j) Specific learning impairment;
    (k) Speech or language impairment;
    (l) Traumatic brain injury;
    (m) Visual impairment; or
    (n) Development delay, as defined in paragraph (C)(6) of this rule.

    GUIDANCE

    Catastrophic costs for preschool

    At this time there is no legislated funding appropriation for this.

    Specific learning disability (SLD) as a preschool disability category

    Specific learning disability (SLD) has been included because it is one of the categories of disability contained in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004.

    Kindergarten transition

    A reevaluation is required when a preschool child with a disability is transitioning from preschool to kindergarten. If, however, the annual IEP review occurs before the required reevaluation and the IEP team does not suspect a school-age disability, data describing why the child is no longer a preschool child with a disability must be documented. This would include a review of existing information and progress-monitoring data, as well as a conversation regarding the child’s age-eligibility for kindergarten (the only requirement for kindergarten entry). The team also should discuss the child’s need to extend learning with the kindergarten content standards. If the child's progress warrants no further special education, a Prior Written Notice to Parents PR-01 form can be provided and services discontinued.

    Children transitioning from preschool special education to kindergarten are required to have a reevaluation and not an initial evaluation.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-11
    (C)Eligibility
    (6)A school district may choose to use the term “developmental delay” under the following conditions for children ages three through five who are experiencing developmental delays and who, by reason thereof, need special education and related services:

    (a) The applicability of the term shall be based upon the individual needs of the child as determined by the evaluation team or the IEP team and other qualified professionals;
    (b) In addition to the assessment required in paragraph (C)(1) of this rule, the results of appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures may also be used to help make the determination that a child has a developmental delay. A developmental delay may be substantiated by a delay of two standard deviations below the mean in one or more of the following areas of development or 1.5 standard deviations below the mean in two or more of the areas of development listed in paragraphs (C)(6)(b)(i) to (C)(6)(b)(v) of this rule. The results shall not be used as the sole factor in making the determination that a child has a developmental delay.
    "Developmental delay" means a child of three to five years who is experiencing a delay as determined by an evaluation team, IEP team, and other qualified professionals in one or more of the following areas of development:
    (i) Physical development;
    (ii) Cognitive development;
    (iii) Communications development;
    (iv) Social or emotional development; or
    (v) Adaptive development.
    (c) The term "developmental delay" may be used only after considering the applicability of the categories provided in paragraphs (C)(5)(a); and
    (d) The term "developmental delay" may be used in place of the following disability categories:
    (i) Cognitive disability;
    (ii) Emotional disturbance; or
    (iii) Speech or language impairment. (A child with a developmental delay that requires special education and related services may be determined in accordance this rule to be a child with a disability.)

    GUIDANCE

    Developmental delay

    The team must consider the disability categories of autism, cognitive disability, deaf-blindness, deaf, emotional disturbance, hearing, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, specific learning impairment, speech/language impairment, traumatic brain injury or visual impairment. If the child meets the definition of one of the disability categories, the child is eligible.

    If the child is found eligible under cognitive impairment, emotional disturbance or speech/language impairment, the team can decide to use the term "developmental delay" without further evaluation.

    If the child is not eligible under any of these disability categories, the team should examine the evaluation information to see if the child meets the eligibility criteria for developmental delay in the areas of physical, cognitive, communication, social, emotional or adaptive development. If there is insufficient information to determine if a developmental delay exists, the team must decide if additional information is required. If additional information is needed, the evaluation plan is modified and the team reconvenes to examine new data. Since evaluation must include assessment of each developmental domain using at least one method of evaluation, the resulting information can inform the process and assist in determining any additional information needs.

    All methodologies must be used to determine eligibility under developmental delay. Standard deviations on norm-referenced assessments are one source of information but cannot be the sole source to determine eligibility. By reviewing all available data, the team determines if the child exhibits a developmental delay.

     

    10.2 District Responsibility for FAPE

    State Performance Plan (SPP):

    (See Overview in the Introduction for more information on the SPP.)

    SPP 7:
    A. Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships);
    B. Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (including early language/communication and early literacy; and
    C. Use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs.

    Intent:

    To ensure that each school district makes a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to all children, ages of 3 through 21, including children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school, for whom the school district is the children's school district of residence.

    Timelines:

    Eligible for services at age 3

    Each school district must make FAPE available to each eligible child, ages 3 through 5, for whom the school district is the child's school district of residence. Children may become eligible for services on their third birthday, even if they are not transitioning from Help Me Grow (HMG). Referrals and evaluations occur early enough to ensure that an IEP is implemented on the child's third birthday for all children transitioning from Part C services.

    No later than the child’s third birthday

    Each school district must ensure that the obligation to make FAPE available to each eligible child for whom the school district is the child’s school district of residence begins no later than the child’s third birthday for children who transition from Help Me Grow. Districts also must ensure that an individualized educational program (IEP) is in effect for the child by that date.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-02
    (B) FAPE– Free Appropriate Public Education
    (1) General
    Each school district shall make FAPE available to all children between the ages of three and twenty-one, inclusive, including children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled from school, as provided for in rule 3301-51-05 of the Administrative Code, for whom the school district is the child’s school district of residence.

    GUIDANCE

    Federal, state and local funding for special education and for related services

    State and federal funding for services are considered the state and federal share of service provision. Under IDEA, districts are responsible for Child Find (identify, locate, evaluate) for children birth through 21 and for providing services for children age 3 through 21. Once a child is identified, services must be provided.

    Districts may wish to consider the cost of not providing services at preschool and the potential for subsequent increased costs at kindergarten.

    Eligible nonchartered and chartered nonpublic school children

    The requirement for the district where the nonpublic school is located to provide services for children with disabilities in a nonpublic school is based upon the definitions of elementary and secondary schools. In Ohio, districts of residence are always responsible for preschool children with disabilities. Because preschools in Ohio do not meet the definition of elementary school, it does not follow the rule.

    Court placements

    If a journal entry is on file from the court for a preschooler who moves to another county, the responsibility of the original school district is dependent upon how the court addressed the educational rights of the child, and who retains those rights.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-02
    (B) FAPE
    (2) FAPE for children beginning at age three
    Each school district must ensure that:

    (a) The obligation to make FAPE available to each eligible child for whom the school district is responsible is the child’s school district of residence begins no later than the child’s third birthday; and
    (b) An individualized education program (IEP) is in effect for the child by that date, in accordance with rule 3301-51-07 of the Administrative Code.
    (c) If a child’s third birthday occurs during the summer, the child’s IEP team shall determine the date when services under the IEP will begin.

    (C) Limitation: exception to FAPE for certain ages
    The obligation of the school district of residence to make FAPE available to all children with disabilities does not apply with respect to the following;

    (5) Children with disabilities who are eligible under Subpart H of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended by the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act of 2004, December 2004 (IDEA), but who receive early intervention services under Part C of the IDEA.

    GUIDANCE

    Summer birthdays - age 3

    According to IDEA, the only time a child transitioning from Help Me Grow/Part C early intervention to preschool special education can have an IEP implementation date later than his or her third birthday is when the birthday is in the summer. For these children, data from Help Me Grow and additional source must be used to determine if the child requires extended school year (EYS) services to sustain current skills. If regression is a possibility, the district can provide different services than those during the school year, to ensure the child does not lose skills. A child who has lost skills because ESY was not provided can require additional attention and support once they begin the preschool program. ESY must be provided as required by Rule 3301-51-02(G) as discussed under IEP - 7.5 Special Factors and Considerations.

    Note: This exception does not apply to children with birthdays in the spring.

    Third birthday on weekends or during school breaks in the school calendar year

    The effective date can be the child's third birthday, and attendance begins according to the school calendar year. This must be documented on the IEP. (See Preschool - 10.4 Transition from Part C Early Intervention). The IEP must be completed by the child's third birthday. The effective dates of the IEP will follow the school calendar year as noted on the IEP.

     

    10.3 Continuum of Service Delivery

    State Performance Plan (SPP):

    (See Overview in the Introduction for more information on the SPP.)

    SPP 7:
    A. Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships);
    B. Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (including early language/communication and early literacy; and
    C. Use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs.

    Intent:

    To ensure that a continuum of service delivery options, i.e., center-based or itinerant teacher services, be considered when determining the least restrictive environment (LRE) for a child.

    To ensure that preschool children with disabilities are educated to the maximum extent appropriate with children who do not have disabilities.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-11 
    (F) Center-based and itinerant teacher services 
    A continuum of service delivery options that includes the options of center-based or itinerant teacher services shall be considered when determining the least restrictive environment.

    (1) Adapted physical education (APE) or related services, as appropriate, shall be considered in conjunction with center-based or itinerant teacher services. When determining services, the school district shall consider the following factors:

    (a) The child’s ability to participate and progress in the general early childhood curriculum; and
    (b) The child’s socialization needs; and
    (c) The child’s educational and developmental progress.

    (2) Itinerant services may be delivered in the home, in a preschool program administered by a public school, or in a community-based preschool or child care program that meets the requirements of Chapter 5104 (Child Day-Care) of the Revised Code.

    (3) Center-based classroom services may be delivered in an integrated facility, such as team teaching within a community-based program, or in a separate facility.

    (4) Center-based options must include opportunities for services in settings that are considered to be early childhood settings as the term is used by the United States Department of Education.

    (5) A "change of placement" is defined as a change in the service delivery option (center-based or itinerant teacher).

    (6) Center-based environments meeting the federal definition of an early childhood setting (see definition in Guidance) shall be considered during the IEP meeting.

    (7) Up to eight age-eligible, nondisabled peers may be enrolled in a preschool special education classroom. In such cases, no more than sixteen children shall be present at any one time. The maximum number of children enrolled in any class shall be appropriate for the severity of disabilities and needs of the children enrolled.

    GUIDANCE

    Continuum of services and least restrictive environment

    Districts should review the needs of families and children to plan for meeting the least restrictive environment (LRE) requirements and the continuum of options. Based upon historic trends (three years, for example), the district could project varying models to meet the needs. The possibility of a teacher being both center-based and itinerant can assist in adjusting models to meet the needs of children and families.

    For preschool special education, the continuum of preschool center-based or itinerant-teacher services in various settings mirrors the school-age continuum, using developmentally-appropriate strategies for preschoolers. Itinerant services in a preschool or child-care setting represents regular class. A preschool special education classroom with fewer than 50 percent non-disabled peers enrolled is a special class. A special school could be an MR/DD setting, if it is dedicated for preschool children with disabilities. Itinerant teacher services in the home mirrors home instruction. Itinerant teacher and/or related services can be considered supplementary services.

    The special delivery options of center-based or itinerant teacher are to be discussed during the individualized educational program (IEP) meeting after the child's needs and needed services are determined. One of the center-based options that must be considered is one that meets the definition of an early childhood education (ECE) setting (where at least 50 percent of the enrollment is made up of peers without disabilities). The district can ensure that the required service delivery options are available by working with another district, an education service center (ESC), a mental retardation and developmental disabilities program (MR/DD) or another early learning program within the community.

    A district cannot predetermine services. The IEP team determines services. Therefore, districts are strongly encouraged to establish partnerships with the broader early learning community, especially Early Learning Initiative (ELI) programs or Early Childhood Education (ECE) programs (public preschool, not to be confused with the United States Department of Education (USDE) Office for Special Education Programs' (OSEP) definition of setting) within the district or ESC. Itinerant teacher services can be delivered in either ELI or ECE programs. Center-based preschool special education teachers can team teach with an ELI, ECE or child-care teacher. Either model will provide an early childhood education setting that fits the OSEP definition.

    LRE does not consist of a mix of two or more options on the continuum. A child should not be enrolled in a public preschool program with itinerant services for half day and a preschool special education class the other half day, or LRE will be in question.

    If a child is enrolled in a community preschool or childcare, the LRE discussion should consider if and how the child can continue in that setting with special education and/or related services being provided in that setting. Removal from the general preschool setting must be justified.

    (See LRE Clarification available on the ODE Web site at http://education.ohio.gov, keyword search:preschool LRE. The May 2008 Update of the OSEP Policy Clarification (November 2006) Regarding Part B Educational Environments Data Collection for Children Ages 3-5 is included in the LRE Clarification document. 

    Service delivery models

    There are several basic models of service delivery to ensure that preschool children with disabilities are educated with their nondisabled peers. 

    8+8 and 6+6 models

    The 8+8 model in which up to eight, age-eligible peers without disabilities or enrolled in a preschool special education classroom with eight of their peers who are disabled, as well as the current 6+6 model where six age-eligible peers whout disabilities attend class with six children with disabilities, are possible center-based options that IDEA requirements regarding a continuum of placements (34 CFR §300.115) and education with nondisabled peers (34 CFR §300.114).

    The 8+8 model represents the maximum number for any center-based preschool special education classroom. Districts may choose any combination up to 8+8. A minimum of six preschool children with disabilities must be enrolled for a center-based preschool special education teacher to be eligible for full unit funding.

    Recruiting children without disabilities

    If reverse mainstreaming (6+6, 7+7, or 8+8) is the only ECE model a district offers, additional alternatives such as team teaching or working with the broader early learning community to enroll non-disabled peers should be considered. The district must have at least one option (not necessarily operated by the district, but one the district can access easily) that meets the current ECE requirement in which at least 50 percent of the children enrolled do not have disabilities.

    Begin where the child is currently served

    Districts are required to provide a free appropriate public education to children eligible for special education and/or related services. A child is not to be removed from the regular education environment unless the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and service cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

    The IEP conversation should begin with an examination of the supports and services the child needs, followed by a determination of whether those supports and services can be provided in the current setting through itinerant teacher services or a team teaching situation.

    Related services as the special education program

    It must be evident that the continuum of service delivery options are available.

    The continuum includes:

    1. Center-based teacher services (one of the center-based options). This must meet the definition of an ECE setting (at least 50 percent enrollment of nondisabled peers); and
    2. Itinerant teacher services.

    APE and related services, as appropriate, shall be considered in conjunction with center-based or itinerant teacher services. Related services may be the only services provided if the team considers (and documents) the following:

    • The impact on the child’s participation and progress in the general early childhood curriculum;
    • The child’s socialization needs; and
    • The child’s education and developmental progress.

    When only a related service is provided, the related service personnel are required to complete all assessment record reporting (Get It! Got It! Go! and the Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social-Emotional) as well as progress monitoring with the Early Childhood Outcomes Summary form. Expectations regarding team input and working with the parents still apply to data collection.

    • If more than one related service is required, the expectation is that teacher services also are provided, because the nature and severity of the disability requires more than one related service.

    Note: Related services are not defined as itinerant services under the continuum of services definition. Related services should be linked to the center-based or itinerant teacher services provided to the child’s educational program to achieve desired outcomes, which at a minimum are defined by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP):

    • Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships);
    • Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (including early language/communication and early literacy); and
    • Use of appropriate behaviors to meet the child's needs.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-03 
    (D) Data reporting 
    (1)Each school district shall maintain an education management information system and submit data to the Ohio Department of Education pursuant to rule 3301-14-01 (Operation of the Education Management Information System (EMIS) of the Administrative Code).

    GUIDANCE

    Reporting district, MR/DD, ESC classes that meet the definition of an ECE (50/50) setting

    Those with at least 50 percent enrollment of children without disabilities qualify as an ECE setting. However, if the child spends the majority of time in any setting that meets the definition of an ECE setting, such as a community child-care program, that child is considered to be in an ECE program and the majority of time in that setting must be reported. The data reported reflects where the child spends the majority of his or her time,not where special education services are delivered. If a child does not spend any part of the week in a setting where at least 50 percent of the enrollment are nondisabled peers, then one of the other LRE options is reported.

    Calculation of percentage of time

    This is based on a 40-hour week as defined by OSEP. The 40-hour week was determined by OSEP so that calculations across states would be consistent.

     

    10.4 Transition from Party C Early Intervention

    State Performance Plan (SPP):

    (See Overview in the Introduction for more information on the SPP.)

    SPP 12:
    Early childhood transition:
    Percent of children referred by Part C prior to age 3, who are found eligible for Part B, and who have an IEP developed and implemented by their third birthdays. (20.U.S.C. 1416 (a)(3)(B))

    Intent:

    To spell out the school district's responsibilities related to the transition of a child receiving Help Me Grow early intervention services under Part C of IDEA to preschool special education services under Part B of IDEA.

    Timelines:

    The preschool transition conference is scheduled by the Part C service coordinator and should occur at least 90 days, but not more than nine months, before the child’s third birthday.

    The district must complete the evaluation process within 60 days of parents' consent and have an IEP implemented by the child’s third birthday.

    No later than the child’s third birthday

    Each school district must ensure that the obligation to make FAPE available to each eligible child for whom the school district is the child’s school district of residence begins no later than the child’s third birthday, for children who transition from Help Me Grow. The district also must ensure that an individualized educational program (IEP) is in effect for the child by that date.

    For children entering Help Me Grow 46-90 days before the third birthday, districts must work with the service coordinator to conduct joint (not duplicative) evaluations to ensure that Help Me Grow can develop an IFSP for transition and the district can develop an IEP by the third birthday.

    For children who are suspected of having a disability and enter Help Me Grow 45 days or fewer before the third birthday, Help Me Grow will refer the child directly to the district or assist the parents in contacting the district. Because these children will not have an IFSP or be provided early intervention services, this referral does not require an IEP by the third birthday. Given the fact that the child has not had early intervention, the district should consider appropriate timelines to secure necessary services.

    REQUIREMENT

    3301-51-11
    (D) Transition from Part C early intervention
    A school district is responsible for the following activities related to transition for a child receiving "Help Me Grow" early intervention services under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, as amended by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004, December 2004(IDEA):

    (1) If invited by a representative of the Part C system, a school district representative shall attend a conference to discuss transition from early intervention services to preschool for a child suspected of having a disability. This conference may occur up to nine months before a child’s third birthday. The school district shall document participation in the conference.
    (2) At the parent’s request, the school district shall invite the Part C service coordinator to the initial IEP meeting.
    (3) If there is a suspected disability and the child is eligible for special education and related services as a preschool child, the school district shall work with the family to ensure an IEP is in place and implemented by the child’s third birthday. The dates for the initiation and duration of services shall be determined by the evaluation team or the IEP team and other qualified professionals.
    (4) A school district must consider extended school year services as part of the IEP process for children transitioning from Part C services. Based upon data available from the Part C system, the evaluation team or the IEP team and other qualified professionals shall determine if extended school year services are required as outlined in paragraph (G) of rule 3301-51-02 of the Administrative Code.

    GUIDANCE

    Help Me Grow

    Help Me Grow is a broad-based system under the Ohio Department of Health that serves children from birth through age 2 who have developmental delays and disabilities and who are considered at risk. Help Me Grow is administered on the county level through the Family and Children First Council. One component of the Help Me Grow system is Part C under IDEA, which provides service for infants and toddlers with disabilities.

    (See the Help Me Grow website at http://www.ohiohelpmegrow.org.)

    Timelines that must be met for a child suspected of having a disability who is transitioning from Help Me Grow

    The Part C service coordinator is required to have a transition conference at least 90 days, but not more than nine months, before the child’s third birthday. The Part C service coordinator is responsible for notifying the district of the conference, and the district must attend the conference. The local interagency agreement should address the communication process regarding the transition conference, to ensure a district representative is in attendance.

    At the conference, the district provides a copy of Whose IDEA Is This? to the parents and briefly explains the relevant procedural safeguards. The child's present level of performance is reviewed and child's progress data is shared. If the district concludes the child has a suspected disability that could confer Part B eligibility, the referral process begins and the Referral for Evaluation PR-04 form is completed.

    When the district is unsure if the child has a suspected disability, it can request additional data or undertake additional activities.

    If the district does not believe the child is suspected of having a disability, a Prior Written Notice to Parents PR-01 form explaining the district's position is completed and given to the parents. If the parents disagree, they can pursue the remedies listed in Whose IDEA Is This?

    When the district suspects a disability, the Referral for Evaluation PR-04 form is completed, the Consent for Evaluation PR-05 form may is completed. At the very least, a time to sign these documents should be agreed upon so that the child has an IEP by the third birthday. Districts that delay in signing documents in a timely manner may be unable to meet the required timelines.

    The district must secure the parents' consent for an evaluation no more than 30 days from the date of referral. The evaluation must be completed no more than 60 days after parental consent is obtained. The district then has 30 days to complete the IEP with a team of qualified professionals and the parents. No more than 120 days may elapse between the date of referral and the date the IEP is completed.

    For children entering Help Me Grow 46-90 days before the third birthday, districts must work with the service coordinator to conduct joint (not duplicative) evaluations to ensure that Help Me Grow can develop an IFSP for transition, and that the district can develop an IEP by the third birthday.

    For children who are suspected of having a disability and enter Help Me Grow 45 days or fewer before the third birthday, Help Me Grow will refer the child directly to the district or assist the parent in contacting the district. Because these children will not have an IFSP or be provided early intervention services, this referral does not require an IEP by the third birthday. Since the child has not had early intervention, the district is required to meet standard timelines to secure necessary services.

    LEA referrals outside of stated timelines

    Help Me Grow will provide districts with quarterly reports of children potentially transitioning, and the reports will include contact information. Therefore, the district can communicate with Help Me Grow about children on the list. (Note: Help Me Grow is revising its data system to accommodate this requirement in the state interagency agreement.)

    If, at the time of the HMG transition planning conference, the parent has chosen not to include the district in the conference, confidentiality is invoked per the Office for Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education. Subsequently, Help Me Grow cannot share information with the district. The district can use the quarterly reports it receives from HMG to see if desired conferences are scheduled. If the district does not receive information from HMG about a child regarding a transition conference, it may assume that the family is not seeking input from, or placement in, the school district at that time. In this way, the district can assist in tracking to ensure that transition conferences occur that include the district.

    Implementation of the IEP by the child’s third birthday

    Third birthday in the summer

    According to IDEA, the only time that a child transitioning from Help Me Grow/Part C early intervention to preschool special education can have an IEP implementation date later than the third birthday is when the birthday is in the summer. For these children, data from Help Me Grow and additional evaluation data must be used to determine if the child requires extended school year (ESY) services to sustain current skills. If regression is a possibility, the district can provide ESY services, which can be different than those provided during the school year, to ensure that the child does not lose skills. A child who has lost skills because extended school year was not provided can require additional attention and support once he or she begins the preschool program. ESY must be provided as required by Rule 3301-51-02(G) as discussed in IEP: 7.5 Special Factors and Considerations. Note: This exception does not apply to children with third birthdays in the spring.

    Third birthday on weekend or during breaks in the school calendar

    The effective date of an IEP can be the child’s third birthday, and attendance begins according to the school calendar year. This should be documented on the IEP. The IEP must be completed by the child's third birthday.

    Transient Families

    The district is responsible to report those children for whom the district attended a transition conference. If the family moves before all data is collected, outcomes on the special education record can indicate a parent's refusal to grant consent (CNST); scheduling conflicts with family; or, if entered with a student identification number (SID), the child's withdrawal date. District files will document that the family moved to another county for any data verification/audits that occur. The district should also consider contacting the local Help Me Grow to follow up.

    If a child moves from another county into a district and the transition conference occurred in the other county, the new district does not report the preschool transition conference (PSTC). Only report PSTC if the district attended the conference and the child is referred because of a suspected disability. Those not suspected of a disability would be counted in the aggregate count if the district attended the transition conference and the Prior Written Notice to Parents PR-01 form was provided to the parents, indicating that no disability was suspected.

    EMIS reporting

    Only transition conferences for children who are exiting Part C HMG at or around age 3 should be reported in EMIS. Data should be validated by checking the child's age and, if the child is 4 or older, a PSTC should not be reported.

    IEP by age three

    Children exiting Part C Help Me Grow (HMG) are required to have an IEP by the third birthday.

    Children who come to the attention of HMG 46-90 days before the third birthday and who are suspected of having a disability receive a joint evaluation conducted by HMG and the district. If children are found to be eligible for Part B supports and services, an IEP must be signed and implemented by the third birthday.

    Children who come to the attention of HMG 45 days or fewer before the third birthday and are suspected of having a disability do not receive an evaluation from, and are not enrolled in, HMG. They are referred directly to the district. If the district suspects a disability, standard timelines regarding consent and evaluation, which may exceed the date of the third birthday, are followed.

     

Last Modified: 7/10/2013 1:05:23 PM