Early Childhood Special Education

Children ages 3-5 who meet state eligibility criteria because they are experiencing developmental delays can receive services through preschool programs in their local school district, as well as in Head Start programs and other community early childhood programs.

Disability Categories for Preschool Special Education Services

  • Developmental Delay
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Preschool Severe Delay
  • Speech or Language Impairment (SLI)
  • Visual Impairment (VI)

Learn more about these categories here

Child Find

Through a process called “Child Find,” school districts and other public agencies are responsible for locating, identifying, and evaluating eligible children and offering a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Eligible children are entitled to services at no cost to the family. If a child is eligible, the child’s public school district must offer services to meet their identified needs.

Please visit the Child Find resource page to learn more or call your local school district to request a screening.

Important Child Find Timelines

  • Screening must be completed within 45 calendar days of the date you notify the school of your concerns about your child’s developmental delay.
  • When a concern is identified through screening procedures, you must be notified within 10 school days and informed of procedures to follow up on your child’s needs.

Learn more about the evaluation process here

Preschool Special Education Evaluation Process Flow Chart

Flowchat evaluation process

Understanding IDEA & IEP


The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the law that guides public and charter schools in providing Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to individuals with disabilities. IDEA covers services from Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) through high school.


An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the document that defines your child’s educational goals along with the services and accommodations that will be provided to your child by the school.

Raising Special Kids Special Education Resources

Procedural Safeguards/Parent’s Rights

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), you and your child have legal protections during the evaluation and IEP process. These protections are called procedural safeguards. The school must provide you with a written explanation of your rights under IDEA.

Raising Special Kids Training

Understanding Early Childhood Education and IEPs can be challenging. It really is A LOT of information. Fortunately, Raising Special Kids offers live training sessions on Early Childhood Education and IEPs. Training sessions take about two hours and you will have the opportunity to ask our knowledgeable staff of trainers any questions you have about IDEA, IEPs, or anything else related to Special Education.

Do you still have questions? Need more information? Want to talk to someone about your situation? Contact Raising Special Kids!

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