Preschool Early Intervention in Pennsylvania consists of services and supports designed to help families with children ages 3 to 5 who have developmental delays. It is a process that promotes collaboration among parents, caregivers, service providers, and others significantly involved with your child. Services help address your concerns about your child’s development and enhance your family’s capacity to meet the developmental needs of your child in the setting where children would be if they did not have a disability.
Early intervention practitioners work collaboratively with families, caregivers, and educators to help children grow and learn, and to prevent the need for more and costly intervention in the future. BCIU Early Intervention is a public special education service provided to children who are experiencing a delay in development. If a child is eligible, he or she will receive appropriate educational services 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.
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 steps.
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 future 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 area of concern. The results of the evaluation are compiled into a written evaluation report and provided to the parent within 60 days from the receipt of permission.
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. The BCIU attempts to provide services as various convenient sites located throughout Berks County.
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.
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.