Some children begin receiving early intervention services for a developmental delay or disability before age 3. Others aren’t spotted until after age 3. In this situation, Section 619 can help. Section 619 is a unique preschool program for children identified with disabilities between ages 3 and 5. Here’s what you need to know about Section 619.
“The school must pay for transportation to any other special settings where your child needs to receive services.”
What Is Section 619 of Part B of IDEA?
It’s a lot of numbers and letters, that’s for sure! But it’s simpler than that. Section 619 is the IDEA preschool program guaranteeing a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) for kids with delays or disabilities from ages 3 to 5.
Whenever possible, preschool special education staff provide special education in a regular preschool classroom. This is because it’s good for preschoolers with delays to be in school with peers who are developing at a more typical rate. Just like other children, they need to play, hear regular language, and gain pre-reading and other learning skills.
Screening: Determining Eligibility for Special Education Pre-K
Has someone in your child’s life suggested your preschool-age kid be screened? Or are you concerned, but don’t know what to do? A free diagnostic screening is available through a process called Child Find. This screening can help confirm whether your child has a delay or disability.
To schedule the screening, contact your local school system’s director of special education programs. If you don’t know how to find this person, contact the office of your superintendent of schools. They can direct you. In some cases, the local school system also has someone who coordinates preschool special education referrals.
Other Ways to Access Special Education Pre-K
Screening is one route to special education Pre-K. There are other ways, too. Some kids transition to special education preschool from other early intervention services. This usually happens at age 3. Kids who turn 3 during the school year may receive these services, too. This depends on your state.
Your Child Is Eligible for Section 619 Preschool. What’s Next?
If your child is eligible for Section 619 preschool, you become part of the team that reviews your child’s test results, reports and any other key information.
The team develops an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your child. Think of it as a blueprint for the best ways to teach your child. The team also suggests any other related services that might help. This might include social activities or speech or physical therapy.
Once the IEP is developed, the school system works with you to figure out the best place for your child to receive services. This won’t happen, however, if your child is already attending a preschool, Head Start or child-care program.
Sometimes kids do better in settings other than a regular preschool classroom. In some states, services are provided at home. The school must pay for transportation to any other special settings where your child needs to receive services.
Who Is the 619 Coordinator?
You might already be in touch with the local director of special education or early childhood special education coordinator. Even so, you may still want to contact the 619 coordinator. This is the staff member responsible for administering the state’s Section 619 grants that develop, maintain and provide information about the state’s program. The 619 coordinator can:
- Provide helpful information about your rights
- Connect you with local programs and services
- Sometimes assist with the process by attending meetings
Here’s how to find the 619 coordinator for your state.
If your child is eligible, Section 619 may be a wonderful resource. It’s a way to help your child make strides early in life—and this can make a big difference.