Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Services

  • The Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) program serves children birth through age 6 who have identified special education needs. Children qualify for services by meeting state established criteria. There are 13 different criteria under which a young child can qualify for ECSE services.

    Children are referred to our program by parents, medical personnel, childcare providers, Early Childhood educators, kindergarten teachers, West Suburban Early Intervention, other community agencies (such as Head Start), and as a result of the state mandated pre-school screening.

    Following a comprehensive evaluation the child's team determines whether or not a child qualifies for ECSE services. Once a child has qualified for ECSE services an IIIP or IEP is written to address the child's and family's needs. The frequency and level of services the child/family receives is based upon their individual needs. Services could be delivered by a variety of staff such as an ECSE teacher, Speech/Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Autism Specialist, Behavior Specialist, Developmental Adaptive Physical Education teacher, etc.

    The ECSE program consists of four components; The Birth to Three program, The Three to Kindergarten program, the Kindergarten program and The Speech and Language program.

    ECSE services are delivered in a variety of settings. Federal Law mandates that education services for our youngest children, those ages birth to three, to the maximum extend possible must be provided in a child natural environment. Thus the infants and toddlers we serve generally receive their educational program either in their homes or in their child care settings. At approximately age 2, in addition to receiving services in their homes, children begin attending a parent-child toddler class called Twos Company. This class is designed to support the child's transition into the Three to Kindergarten program.

    The Three to Kindergarten program provides preschool center based services and itinerant/consulting services. In collaboration with SLP Early Childhood Family Education and Learning Readiness we provide two inclusive pre-school programs: Pals Plus and Ready Set Kindergarten (RSK). These programs provide a high quality preschool experience to both typically developing children and children with special education needs. (In accordance with Federal Law children over the age of three must receive services in the least restrictive environment being educated to the maximum extent possible with their same age nondisabled peers.) In addition, we provide Speech/Language groups and individual/small group speech/language sessions. These programs are currently located at Central Community Center. ECSE consulting services are provided for children who attend community based pre school programs.

    Lastly, we provide ECSE services to children who are attending kindergarten. We provide a wide array of services to kindergarten age students. Services are dependent on their individual needs as defined by their IEPs. For example, services may be provided within the kindergarten classroom, in a small group setting or through consultation. Services are delivered by a variety of special education staff, such as ECSE teacher, Speech/Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Autism Specialist, Behavior Specialist, Developmental Adaptive Physical Education teacher, etc.
    If you are interested in referring your child for Early Intervention Services, or if you have questions about your child's development, please contact Stephanie Duensing at 952-928-6741