Each public agency must conduct a Full and Individual Evaluation (FIE) before providing special education and related services to a child with a disability (34 CFR 300.301(a). To participate in the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE), the child may be three, four, or five-years-old, and not yet old enough to be enrolled in kindergarten. The child must be evaluated and meet eligibility criteria for at least one of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) disability categories. Subsequently, an ARD Committee determines if the child needs special education and/or related services (34 CFR 300.8(a)(1)). The Texas Education Agency (TEA) recognizes the following disability categories:
- Deaf/Hard of Hearing
- Emotional Disturbance
- Learning Disability
- Intellectual Disability
- Multiple Impairment
- Non-Categorical Early Childhood
- Other Health Impairment
- Orthopedic Impairment
- Speech Impairment
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Visual Impairment
Special Education means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. Specially designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child under this part, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction - to address the unique needs of the child that result from the child's disability; and to ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children (34 CFR 300.39(a)).
Each public agency must ensure that, to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled; and special classes, separate schooling, or removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily (34 CFR 300.114(a)).
Each public agency must ensure that a continuum of placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services. The continuum must include instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions; and make provision for supplementary services (such as resource room or itinerant instruction) to be provided in conjunction with regular class placement (34 CFR 300.115(b)).
For infants and toddlers with visual or auditory impairments, services may be provided through Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) from birth through two years of age.
What We Do
Provide services to eligible three, four, and five-year-old children with disabilities in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE).
For children referred before age three as a referral through an early intervention program while receiving services through ECI, special education services must be made available to the child on his or her third birthday if the child is found eligible.
A child who is four years old on or before September 1st and meets district pre-kindergarten requirements may enroll in the district's pre-kindergarten program. Certain guidelines must be met for pre-kindergarten attendance.
A student must be five years of age on or before September 1st to participate in the district's kindergarten program.
If the child is to be evaluated by our Early Childhood Assessment Team, the child participates in an evaluation and the parent completes appropriate referral paperwork, notice, and consent. The Early Childhood Team and/or the SLP complete the evaluation.
The evaluation must include:
- A comprehensive measure of intelligence,
- A measure of adaptive behavior,
- Age-appropriate developmental/academic evaluation,
- A speech/language evaluation,
- A psychological evaluation if emotional or behavioral concerns are present,
- An assistive technology/augmentative communication assessment is determined to be necessary by the Speech-Language Pathologist or Diagnostician upon review of the referral paperwork, and
- Other Health Impairment (OHI) Disability forms will be presented to the parent by the Diagnostician if the information is provided to determine its relevance.
The Speech-Language Pathologist completes an evaluation and report for a student with primary speech and language needs.
The Early Childhood Assessment Team compiles the evaluation report for a student who participated in an assessment by combining report information from all specialists involved in the assessment. This report includes a recommendation for eligibility and placement for the ARD Committee to use and consider when determining eligibility and placement.
The Diagnostician or SLP schedules the initial ARD/IEP Committee within 30 calendar days of the FIE date and before the child's third birthday if the referral comes through ECI. Otherwise, the ARD must be held within 30 calendar days of the completion of the report.
The ARD/IEP is held via ZOOM with the proposed campus and the teacher of the proposed receiving campus attends so that the committee can review the results of the FIE report. The recommendations for eligibility and programming placements are discussed and reviewed with parental input. The ARD/IEP committee determines eligibility and programming.
Assessment personnel is responsible for:
- Developing the objectives and goals for the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) based on recommendations in the FIE report,
- Submitting a request for transportation if appropriate, and
- Completing and submitting the initial Child Outcome Summary Form (COSF),
- Holding the ARD/IEP meeting at the proposed receiving campus and inviting the appropriate staff from the proposed receiving campus which has the recommended/proposed program, and
- Completing PEIMS information.
Proposed receiving campus personnel is responsible for:
- Ensuring enrollment is complete, and
- Providing the program as specified in the ARD/IEP.
Speech therapy services are provided by a licensed or certified Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) or Speech-Language Therapy Assistant (SLPA) and may be provided in a variety of ways. Speech therapy may take place at the home campus or the attending campus. Speech therapy services are provided in Spanish by a licensed Assistant SLP or Certified Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) at a centralized school location as part of the bilingual program when deemed necessary by the assessment personnel and ARD Committee.
Class Support Services are provided when a Special Education teacher or Special Education Assistant (EA) provides instructional support services for preschoolers with disabilities in the general education pre-kindergarten (four-year-old) classes.
Self-Contained Services are provided by a Special Education teacher and Special Education Assistant (EA) in a Special Education class.
It is important to note that when an ECSE placement is considered by the ARD Committee, the default placement decision is a half-day for three-year-old and a full day for four-year-old children, which is consistent with the general education preschool programming. BISD does not provide pre-kindergarten support for three-year-old children. There may be ARD Committee decisions for individual students which indicate services should be provided. Decisions regarding a change in the length of day or number of days per week will be considered by the ARD Committee on an individual student basis.