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Early Childhood Special Education


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Early childhood special education services for children, three to five years of age and their families are provided by area education agencies and local school districts.

Professionals with training and expertise in special education services implement the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Part B. support the educational needs of young children and families, birth to five years of age. Early childhood special education professionals provide training and serve as a resource to early childhood providers in community settings such as preschool, child care and Head Start programs to meet the developmental learning needs of young children. Also, families and early childhood providers may request information about appropriate expectations for children's development.

Special education information for children ages 3 to 21 years of age is also available via the Special Education tab on the Iowa Department of Education website.

Legal Requirements and Reports

Under IDEA 2004, Individualized Education Plan (IEP) teams, including parents and professionals with expertise in special education, provide specially designed interventions to support preschool children who are determined eligible for special education services. The interventions are designed to enhance the development of children and support the families priorities and concerns. To the maximum extent appropriate, special education services are to be provided in early childhood settings with typically developing peers.

Guiding Practices

Early Childhood Inclusion Brochure - Describes what is inclusion, principles of inclusion, and resources supporting inclusion. It also includes information regarding adult learning styles. It was developed to assist in trainings regarding inclusion at both the pre-service and in-service levels.


District Developed Service Delivery Plan - All districts are required to develop a District Developed Service Delivery Plan for Special Education services including early childhood special education. Documents have been developed to assist districts as they develop their plans.

Early Childhood Services in AEAs: A Blueprint for the Future - This document is to facilitate discussion among decision makers at the state, regional and local levels, establish early childhood priorities, and define Area Education Agencies' role in the statewide efforts to build a strong early care, health and education system. Six priorities are addressed in the document.

Physical Fun for Little Ones - A guidebook for early childhood providers to give them a better understanding of the importance of physical activity, provide examples of appropriate play activities that can be done in a variety of settings and share additional resources to find other materials.

Contacts in Your Area

AEA Directory

Early Childhood Leadership Network

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on July 27, 2016 at 1:51am.