Two Updated Documents Emphasize Need for Early Childhood Inclusion, Transition for Children With Disabilities

Early Childhood Inclusion and Transitioning from Early Intervention Services to IDEA Preschool Services

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 29, 2023) — The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) released two documents this week specific to early childhood activities associated with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C – the part of the law that addresses early intervention services for infants and toddlers, birth through age 2, with disabilities and their families.

The first document, a joint statement between the U.S. Departments of Education and Health and Human Services, reiterates the departments’ stance to include infants and toddlers with disabilities in high-quality early childhood programs.

Additionally, the joint statement sets the expectation that inclusion continues as a child transitions into preschool and elementary school, emphasizes the need to increase public awareness and understanding of the science that supports inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood programs and reinforces the legal foundations that support inclusion.

The departments reiterated and updated recommendations for increasing inclusive early learning opportunities for all children, provided updated models and exemplars of inclusion, and shared resources to support high-quality individualized programming and inclusion of children with disabilities in early childhood programs.

““Inclusion in high-quality, evidence-based early childhood programs sets the stage for continued inclusion through school years and beyond. Setting high expectations for early inclusion paves the way for children with disabilities to reach their goals and to learn, live, and thrive in school and in their communities,” said Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Assistant Secretary Glenna Wright-Gallo in a joint press release about the inclusion statement.

OSEP developed the second document, a question-and-answer document on early childhood transition, to assists state lead agencies, early intervention services programs and providers, state educational agencies and local educational agencies in “ensuring a seamless transition for children with disabilities who received early intervention services (EIS) under the IDEA Part C to eligibility for and receipt of preschool services under IDEA Part B.”

The Q-&-A updates a 2009 frequently asked question document and incorporates 2011 and 2023 policy letters. It also addresses the responsibilities of personnel involved in supporting transition activities for eligible children with disabilities as they move from Part C early intervention services to Part B preschool services.

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Last modified on November 29, 2023