Ages Three to Five
At the age of three, a child will usually transition from an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) to an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for children ages three to 21. The IEP focuses not only on the developmental needs of the child, but on the educational needs as well. It focuses on special education and related services in schools. 1
Early childhood special education (ECSE) services for children ages three through five are to take place in the least restrictive environment. Least restrictive environment means settings or environments that are normal for the child’s age peers who do not have disabilities. 2
In a school setting, children ages 3 to 21 with a disability who do not qualify for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), may still qualify for a reasonable accommodation under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The main difference between a 504 Plan and an IEP is that an IEP sets goals for an individual whereas a 504 plan lists reasonable accommodations that are necessary to address the issues that limit a major life activity.
Nebraska Early Learning Guidelines for Ages 3 to 5
Contact your school district to see if they have early childhood centered preschool programs in place.
1 Kyspin.com, “Difference Between IEPs and IFSPs,” n.d.
http://www.kyspin.com/Difference%20Between%20IEPs%20and%20IFSPs.pdf (29 November 2008)
2 Nebraska Department of Education (NDE) and Health and Human Service (HHS),“Natural & Least Restrictive Environments…where children spend their time, “ Volume 3 (July 2002)
http://www.nde.state.ne.us/edn/Volume3.pdf (28 November 2008)