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The Preschool Early Intervention Program of the Berks County Intermediate Unit (BCIU) is a public special education service provided to children ages 3 to 5 living in one of our 18 school districts and who are experiencing a delay in development.
BCIU is made aware of a child through a referral from a person who has regular contact with the child — a parent, day care teacher, physician, or other professional. Once a referral is received, a child is screened and evaluated in several developmental areas. If a child is eligible, he or she will receive appropriate educational services. These services are provided at no cost through federal and state funds.
Preschool Early Intervention is the Public-School Special Education Parent/Caregiver Training Model for preschool-age students. Parents and guardians, agency personnel, preschools, day care providers and medical practitioners may refer a child for screening and evaluation to determine if Preschool Special Education Services are needed to support learning.
This free program is paid for by state and federal funds and is provided at no cost to families. For information about the Early Intervention (EI) Program, go to www.eita-pa.org/information-and-resources-for-families. For the Notice of Procedural Safeguards concerning each child’s special education rights, click on the following links:
Eligibility for preschool special education services marks the beginning of a child’s public school career. Once a child is found eligible for special education services, eligibility continues until a re-evaluation determines that the child no longer needs special education.
Eligible students have certain rights and protections under special education law. Those rights ensure that students who need special education services will continue to receive them as they progress through the public school system.
To begin the screening process, please provide the information listed below. This information will help us determine if your child needs to be evaluated and what type of evaluation is needed.
The Preschool EI Program cannot determine whether an evaluation should be conducted until you submit items 1–4. Once we have received those documents, they will be reviewed and we will contact you to discuss the next step. Click here for an explanation of the required screening items.
Option 1 (Option 1 ensures the fastest turnaround time.)
Berks County Intermediate Unit, Early Intervention Program Referral
1111 Commons Boulevard, PO Box 16050, Reading, PA 19612-6050
Option 3 – Call 610-987-8544
The Parent to Parent of Pennsylvania (P2P of PA) program links families of children and adults with disabilities or special needs. In Pennsylvania, the P2P model is a one-to-one match between an experienced, mentor parent, called a peer support parent, and a parent seeking individualized support from another parent who has been through the same experience. You would have the opportunity to speak with a parent who has been through the evaluation process to determine eligibility.
If you are interested in this program, you can visit their website: Parent to Parent of Pennsylvania or call 717-606-1298 or 1-888-727-2706 (toll free in PA only) for more information.
The BCIU Early Intervention Program screening activities are designed to gather information about the student’s development in several areas:
The completed questionnaires, surveys, and checklists provide information about the student’s development. This information is used to determine if further evaluation is necessary.
Students who do not meet basic developmental standards for their age level are offered a comprehensive evaluation. Parents must give permission for the evaluation to be completed and participate as a partner in the evaluation process. The evaluation is completed by a team of highly qualified professionals appropriate for the identified areas of concern. The results of the evaluation are compiled into a written evaluation report.
To be eligible for preschool special education services, a child must have a qualifying disability or 25 percent developmental delay and need specially designed instruction to participate in a preschool setting. A student who is found eligible for services is re-evaluated at least every two years to determine continued eligibility.
If a child has been determined to be eligible for special education services, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed. Parents and professionals from the Early Intervention Program participate in the process. Others who have knowledge about the student may provide input as well. Parents and families are a very important part of the IEP development process.
The IEP outlines the student’s goals and adaptations to the preschool curriculum, content, and delivery of instruction needed to support the goals. It indicates the type of services and location of services to be provided. The IEP is reviewed and revised at least annually.
Preschool special education services are provided in a variety of ways and locations. The services recommended for each student are tailored to meet the individual student’s needs and occur in the least restrictive educational setting in which the student’s needs can be met.
Services may be provided in the child’s typical preschool setting, such as Head Start, a community-based preschool, a child care setting, or in the home for medically fragile students, or in a specialized setting if intensive services are needed, or a combination of settings. Children may receive services as part of a large or small group, or individually. BCIU attempts to provide services at various convenient sites located throughout Berks County.
We have positions available if you are interested in becoming a part of the BCIU Early Intervention team. There usually are openings for:
If you enjoy making a difference in the lives of children and families, please check the employment opportunities section of our site.
contact: Early Intervention Program – 610-987-8544