Section 619 of the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA Act) addresses creating a special education preschool program for children ages 3 to 5. Part B of Section 619 guarantees free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students who have developmental delays and/or disabilities after their third birthday.
Many parents are nervous to send their delayed or disabled kid to a public school. Although Section 619 can help those who decide to teach their kids at home, to maximize the effectiveness of the services, it is better for it to be done in traditional preschool settings with the help with a special education instructor. There are several benefits for using your services in conjunction with a regular preschool because children with disabilities need socialization with peers, to play, to hear language and gain other skills the same as other children. Also, exposing non-disabled children to children with disabilities early on will reduce the stigma that people with disabilities are bad. Children can learn that they are not so different and that everyone learns in their own unique way. Also, if your child is attending a public preschool, the school must also provide transportation.
If you are not sure if your child needs special education services, there are diagnostic screenings available to determine if your child has a delay or disability. Based on your child’s test results and reports, you might be eligible to apply for Section 619. The team will develop what is called an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and give recommendations for other services like speech therapy and physical therapy.
If you don’t know where to turn, every state has a Section 619 coordinator. You can find your state’s coordinator at this website: http://ectacenter.org/contact/619coord.asp
Between early intervention and preschool special education programs, there’s a chance that the child might not need special education as they progress throughout their school years depending on the delay or disability. Everyone has the right to FAPE.