Preschool Children with a Disability
As defined by the Ohio Department of Education, these are children who are experiencing significant delays in one or more of the following critical areas and, for that reason, need special education and related services:
- physical development: fine and gross motor skills
- cognitive development
- communication development
- social or emotional development
- adaptive behavior: self-help skills
Assessment/Evaluation Procedures for Preschoolers with a Suspected Disability
- Step 1--Referral for Evaluation: At the preschool level, the parent(s) must initiate the referral for a child to be evaluated. The evaluation team will take information from the parent in order to inform the next steps in the evaluation process. The evaluation team will ask the parent(s) to provide the information and may ask for written reports from other professionals that may have valuable knowledge regarding the child's development (pediatricians, private therapists, etc.). During the referral process, parent(s) will be asked about their child's current areas of difficulty, child's medical history, family history, child's educational history, etc. Parents are also required to register their child with the Parma City School District in order to complete the referral process and begin the evaluation process. When enrolling their child, parents will need their child's birth certificate, immunization records, proof of residency and custody papers (if applicable.)
- Step 2--Screening: The child will participate in a screening that is completed through play and informal assessments. The screening typically involves a special education teacher, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, and school psychologist. The purpose of the screening is to determine whether or not an education disability is suspected and to determine what developmental areas will require further testing.
- Step 3--Home or Preschool/Daycare Observation: A special education teacher will observe the child either within the home or at daycare/preschool setting, if possible. The observation allows us to view the child's skills in another setting.
- Step 4--Play-Based Assessment: The child will return to First Step Preschool to participate in an assessment of his or her skills. This assessment will be completed through play activities as well as through the use of norm-referenced assessments. Your child may be evaluated by a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, and/or school psychologist, depending on developmental concerns. The child will also participate in a vision and hearing screening with the school nurse.
- Step 4--Evaluation Team Report (ETR) Meeting: The purpose of this meeting is to determine whether or not the child meets criteria for an educational disability. The ETR describes the child's needs based on the evaluation that was completed as well as suggestions for instruction. All evaluation results will be reviewed with the parent(s) and the parent(s) will receive a copy. The child does not need to be present for this meeting.
- Step 5--Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Meeting: The purpose of this meeting is to determine what goals and services would be appropriate to meet the child's needs. The IEP includes the child's present levels of performance, annual goals, and a description of the special education services that will be provided (including related services). Once this document is completed and signed, the child will begin receiving special education services.