Step 6: Transition...
means passage from one form, state, style, or place to another.
All too soon, your child will be turning three years old! As your child changes from a "toddler" to a "preschooler," he or she will also be "transitioning" from the Early Intervention Program to other services. Children can stay in the Early Intervention Program for a short time after they turn three.
- If your child's third birthday is between January 1st and August 31st, your child can stay in the Early Intervention Program until August 31st of that calendar year.*
- If your child turns three between September 1st and December 31st, your child can stay in the Early Intervention Program until December 31st of that calendar year.*
Your ongoing service coordinator will help you plan for other services when your child leaves the Early Intervention Program. Some children will no longer need any services. Other children and families may go on to early childhood programs or to other appropriate services in the community. Many children in the Early Intervention Program will be eligible for preschool special education services from their school districts and counties.
The steps to transition
A transition plan must be developed for every child leaving the Early Intervention Program and going into other services. Usually, the transition plan is developed at your last IFSP meeting before your child transitions. Your child's transition plan will include:
- The steps needed to help your child get used to and get along in a new setting.
- The steps needed to prepare service providers who will help your child transition to a new setting and/or services.
- The individuals responsible for taking the steps needed to help your child make the transition.
With your permission, your service coordinator will incorporate the transition plan into your IFSP.
If you or someone else thinks your child may be eligible for preschool special education services, your Early Intervention Official will notify the Committee on Preschool Education (CPSE) in your school district. Your Early Intervention Official can notify the CPSE only with your permission. If you give your permission:
- Your Early Intervention Official must notify the CPSE at least 120 days before your child can start preschool special education services.
- Your service coordinator will review transition steps with you.
- Your service coordinator will send evaluations, IFSPs, and other records to the CPSE – with your permission. If your child is referred in writing to CPSE, you have the right to select an evaluator approved by the State Education Department from a list provided by the Board of Education. The CPSE, with the approved evaluator, may review the existing evaluations and records sent by your service coordinator to determine if there is a need for additional evaluations before you and the CPSE can decide if your child will be eligible for preschool special education services.
If you agree, your Early Intervention Official will convene a conference with you, your service coordinator, and the chair of the CPSE in your school district to discuss your child's transition. This conference must happen at least 90 days before your child's third birthday.
A transition conference can happen in many ways. For example, it can be a telephone conference call, or it can be combined with the first meeting of the CPSE. The transition conference must be at a time and place good for you and the other participants.
For more information about preschool special education services, contact the Preschool Special Education Unit at the State Department of Education at (518) 473-6108.
*These dates apply only to children who are eligible for CPSE services. Otherwise, a child's eligibility for EI services ends at the child's 3rd birthday. (An amendment to Public Health Law Sections 2541 and 2548 on age-eligibility for EI services was passed as part of the 2003-2004 NYS budget.)
Preparing for transition
Here are some tips for preparing your child and family for the transition from the Early Intervention Program to preschool special education services:
- Learn what transition is and why it is important for your child and family.
- Learn what is the same and what is different between early intervention and preschool.
- Make sure your last IFSP includes all the necessary steps to help your child make a good transition to preschool special education services or other early childhood services.
- Find out what you need to know and what skills you need to develop to make sure you get the most out of preschool special education services.
- Get a copy of A Parent's Guide to Special Education – published by the State Department of Education. Ask your school district for your free copy.
- Call your local Early Childhood Direction Center (see "Welcome to the Early Intervention Program"). The ECDCs are funded by the State Department of Education to help parents and children get preschool special education services.
Some questions for parents to think about in making the transition are:
- What new information is needed about your child?
- What skills will your child need to get along in a new setting?
- Are there adaptive equipment needs, or modifications needed where your child will be getting preschool special education services?