Timeline for Transitioning from Early Intervention to Preschool Special Education


choosing-child-care-3 In an effort to help families with children who will be turning three years old navigate the transition to preschool process, we have provided a timeline of major milestones and events to help you with your planning. Your service coordinator and early intervention provider(s) should also be working closely with you throughout this process. If the transition process has not been raised and your child is approaching their 2.5 birthday, ask your early intervention team about next steps.  The following timeline is sorted by your child’s age with recommendations on items you and your transition team should be pursuing at that time.

Transitioning to Preschool Timeline

Below are suggestions on items to be considering when your child reaches this age.

24-30 months: Doing Homework and Going from an IFSP to IEP

  • Research preschools and other service options for children age 3 to 5 that would support your child’s educational and development needs in your community.
  • Begin scheduling visits or tours of the preschool programs you have researched; ideally you have visited a couple of preschools before the transition meeting mentioned below.
  • Schedule a transition meeting and identify members you would like I attendance of those meetings. Transition meetings should occur by the time your child reaches 30 months. Contact your service coordinator to schedule the meeting which is meant to discuss what programs and services your child will need when he/she turns three. A child study team (CST) member from your local school district shall also be at your child’s transition planning meeting.
  • Know your rights and educate yourself on the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA) particularly Subpart E dealing with parental rights and Part B, which outlines services for school-aged children ages 3-22.

Below are suggestions on items to be considering when your child reaches this age.

30-32 months: Gather Information and Get Prepared

  • Create a profile. Develop your child’s profile for your upcoming transition meeting will allow you to discuss your child’s learning needs and speak to his early intervention.
  • Gather information from your school district. A child study team (CST) member from your local school district should provide you with information on the process of identification, evaluation, eligibility determination and development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP). The CST member should also provide you with district residency and registration requirements, if any.
  • Complete a referral for assessment, or also known as, a request for an eligibility evaluation. Included in that letter should also be consent to release records to your CST. Your service coordinator and/or Early Intervention Provider can help you complete your written request for eligibility, make you a copy of your child’s records and send a set to your CST.  Download a Sample Referral/Evaluation Request Letter.

Within 20 Days after the receipt of the referral/evaluation request 

  • The school holds an identification/evaluation plan meeting and must provide you notice before hand. The purpose of the meeting is to determine if an evaluation is warranted. If an evaluation is warranted, the nature and the scope of the evaluation will be determined.
  • You will receive written notice of the determination made by the team. You will need to sign a consent to initiate the evaluation. The school district should provide a consent form for you to sign. Parents have 15 days from the time of receipt to sign and return all necessary forms to the district. If parents feel additional assessments should be conducted, notification must be sent, in writing, to the district.

Below are suggestions on items to be considering when your child reaches this age.
Between 32-35 months (90 days prior to age three)

  • Attend eligibility meeting. After the assessments you will be invited to an eligibility meeting. You should receive prior written notification of the meeting. The purpose of the meeting is to review the assessments to determine eligibility for preschool special education.
  • Schedule an IEP Meeting. If your child is eligible for preschool services, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting will be scheduled, within 60 days of the signed assessment plan, to develop your child’s written IEP and determine the least restrictive educational placement. If you agree with the terms of the IEP, your IEP can be completed at the eligibility meeting. If you do not agree with the IEP—do not sign the document— another meeting needs to be scheduled to develop the IEP and determine placement. Learn more about what to do if you do not agree with the services outlined in a IEP.
  • If the child does not qualify for services, the parent may still request services under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 .

By 36 months

  • After you sign the consent required to implement the IEP, your child will begin
    to receive services when he/she turns three, unless your child turns three over the summer and your IEP does not call for extended school year services.

Between ages 2.5 years and 3 years old

  • Build excitement about preschool with your child. Select books that talk about going to school to help with the transition.
  • Create a Preschool Preview book that is filled with photos of your child’s actual preschool, his teacher(s), playground and classroom. Reading this book can become part of your daily routine leading up to the first day of school and provide your child time to become familiar with new faces and locations. Learn more about the preschool preview book or download our sample.