When your child turns 3 years old, Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services will end and it will be time to move to another program or setting. Your ECI team will help you make the transition.
One choice is to transition to the Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). This program is for children from 3 through 5 years old.
Also see Tips for Planning Smooth Transitions.
View an Early Transition Timeline (PDF).
Video Notice: When this video was recorded, ECSE (Early Childhood Special Education) was called PPCD (Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities). Because the content of this video is still relevant, it was not removed.
If you decide to find out if your child is eligible for ECSE, you should know that there are specific steps and timelines for the transition process. All of the steps are important to help you and your child to have a smooth transition. When children experience smooth transitions, they do better in their next setting. ECI and your local school district will work together to support you through these steps:
- Development of the transition plan (called “Transition Steps and Transition Services”)
- Notification to school district
- Transition conference
- School district referral process
- The initial Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) meeting
- Determination of eligibility for ECSE
- Development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
- Placement in a ECSE program setting
- Begin ECSE services
Within 3 to 9 months before your child’s third birthday, you and your ECI team (also called the Individualized Family Service Plan team or the IFSP team) will develop a written plan for when your child leaves ECI. In Texas this plan is called “Transition Steps and Transition Services” and it will be part of your child’s IFSP. It will help you get ready for the next program or setting after ECI services end.
If your ECI service coordinator or case manager thinks that your child will probably qualify for special education, she will send a notification to the local school district at least 90 days before your child turns 3. This notification will help the school district get ready for receiving your child when he leaves ECI. The notification will include your child’s name, birthday, home language, your name and contact information, and your ECI service coordinator’s name.
If you do not want ECI to send notification to the school district, you can “opt out” by signing a written request that the information not be sent. Your service coordinator will let you know 10 days before the notification will be sent, so you need to act quickly if you want to opt out. If you choose to opt out, the transition process to ECSE stops until you are ready to proceed. You have the right to change your mind.
At least 90 days or as much as 9 months before your child turns 3 years old, you and your ECI service coordinator will have a transition conference with a representative of the school district. This person will tell you about the preschool special education services they offer for children with disabilities, how your child will be evaluated to find out if he is eligible for these services, and answer any questions you have.
If there is another program or service in your community (other than ECSE) that you are interested in, you will have a community transition conference to meet with a representative of that program.
Usually at the transition conference, your school district will begin their referral process. You should receive a referral packet to be completed in order to provide the school information about your child. You will be asked to sign an evaluation consent form. The evaluation begins the process to determine if your child is eligible for special education services. Testing of your child can’t proceed until you sign these forms. The school district will evaluate your child after you sign the consent for evaluation. Also see Special Education: The Referral and Evaluation Process.
After your child is evaluated you will attend an Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee meeting. At this meeting (or meetings—sometimes it takes more than one) you along with the other members of your ARD committee will determine if your child is eligible for special education services and, if so, develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP). You can invite people such as a family member, friend, and your ECI service coordinator (or case manager) to the first ARD meeting if you want. Sometimes it helps to have someone you know with you at this meeting. Be sure to let the ARD meeting coordinator know who you want to invite to the meeting.
Also see The ARD Committee and Your Child's IEP.
When your child turns 3 years old ECI services will end and the IEP should be in place based on your child's eligibility. Your child can begin getting ECSE services from the school district in the placement that your ARD committee selected with your signed consent.
The ECI to ECSE transition is explained in the ECI parent booklet Beyond ECI (PDF).
See the Early Transition Memorandum of Understanding in TEA's website to understand how DARS-ECI and the Texas Education Agency work together to support families and their children in the transition from ECI to ECSE.
Project TaCTICS' Getting to Know Your Child (PDF) is a downloadable form you might find helpful for letting a new teacher know about your child. Be sure to include information about your child's favorite and least favorite toys, foods, activities, etc.
Download this Transition Checklist to help keep up with each step.