Special Needs Preschool Program
The Paulding County School District provides services to children with disabilities beginning at age three. Special Needs Preschool classes are located in elementary schools throughout the school district in order to serve students ages three to five as near to their homes as possible. Children with disabilities are eligible for preschool services until they reach kindergarten age.
Children with disabilities are referred to the school district through two primary sources – Babies Can’t Wait (BCW) or their parents. Children who received services prior to age three through BCW are transitioned to the school district for assessment. Parents refer their own child when they have questions about whether the child is developing in a typical manner compared to his/her peers.
Prior to scheduling an assessment for children not referred through BCW, new state and federal regulations require that Response to Intervention (RTI) be documented. RTI incorporates interventions and strategies that a daycare provider or parent can implement along with documentation of the effectiveness of those strategies. The purpose of RTI is to avoid inappropriate labeling of children experiencing difficulties with various aspects of learning. School district teachers will assist with determining what interventions and strategies should be attempted with the child.
For students who transition from BCW according to state established timelines, assessment, eligibility determination, and an IEP are to be completed no later than the child’s third birthday. For children who are not transitioned from BCW or are referred by their parents, the school district will evaluate the child and determine eligibility for services within sixty calendar days (or within timeline exceptions outlined by the state) of receipt of written parental consent for evaluation.
The Special Needs preschool program operates on the same calendar as other students in the school district. The district has both half and full day programming depending upon the needs of individual students. The half day program is in session four days per week in the morning. The full day program is in session from 8:00 – 2:20 five days per week