Preschool Guidance Document

Preschool Guidance Document


Part 200 of the Regulations states that eligibility as a preschool student with a disability shall be based on the results of an individual evaluation which is provided in the student’s native language, not dependent on a single procedure, and is administered by a multidisciplinary team in accordance with all other requirements as described in section 200.4(b) and 200.16(c) of the regulations.

A Preschool student shall be identified as having a disability if either:

Exhibit a significant delay in one or more functional areas related to cognitive, language and communicative, adaptive, socio-emotional or motor development which adversely affects the student’s ability to learn.

Such delay or disability shall be documented by the results of the individual evaluation which includes but is not limited to information in all functional areas obtained from a structured observation of a student’s performance and behavior, a parental interview and other individually administered assessment procedures, and when reviewed in combination and compared to accepted milestones for child development, indicate:

  • A 12 month delay in one or more functional area(s); or
  • A 33 percent delay in one functional area or a 25 percent delay in each of the 2 functional areas; or
  • If appropriate standardized instruments are individually administered in the evaluation process, a score of 2.0 standard deviations below the mean in one functional area, or a score of 1.5 standard deviations below the mean in each of 2 functional areas; or
  • Meets the criteria as being identified with the classification of autism, deafness, orthopedic impairment, traumatic brain injury, deaf-blindness, hearing impairment, other health impairment, or visual impairment, including blindness.

Additional Components

If additional evaluations are being requested as part of the initial evaluation, the evaluator must provide the CPSE Chairperson with written justification AND parental consent. This will be considered if the additional evaluation can be completed within the time frame to establish eligibility otherwise it will be addressed at the initial CPSE meeting.

For additional information regarding evaluations, please refer to the Guide for Determining Eligibility and Special Education Programs and/or Services for Preschool Students with Disabilities.

School Age Eligibility

Upon transitioning from CPSE to CSE, it is imperative that the service providers working with a student have an understanding of Least Restrictive Environment and school related services to determine what is an appropriate education, but also how will those services be delivered.

A student can receive special education if the CSE makes the recommendation to classify him/her as a student with a disability. The terms used in Part 200 are defined as follows:

Autism means a developmental disability significantly affecting verbal and nonverbal communication and social interaction, generally evident before the age of 3 that adversely affects a student’s educational performance. Other characteristics often associated with autism are engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements, resistance to environmental change or change in daily routines, and unusual responses to sensory experiences. The term does not apply if a student’s educational performance is adversely affected primarily because the student has an emotional disturbance as defined. A student who manifests the characteristics of autism after age 3 could be diagnosed as having autism if the criteria in this paragraph are otherwise satisfied.

Deafness means a hearing impairment that is so severe that the student is impaired in processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without amplification that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.

Deaf-Blindness means concomitant hearing and visual impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication and other developmental and educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in special education programs solely for students with deafness or students with blindness.

Emotional disturbance means a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to be a marked degree that adversely affects a student’s educational performance:

  • An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
  • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
  • Inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances.
  • A generally pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
  • A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.
  • The term includes schizophrenia. The term does not apply to students who are socially maladjusted, unless it is determined that they have an emotional disturbance.

Hearing impairment means impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects the child’s educational performance but that is not included under the definition of deafness in this section.

Learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which manifests itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, sell or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia. The term does not include learning problems that are primarily the result of visual, hearing or motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cultural or economic disadvantage. A student who exhibits a discrepancy of 50 percent or more between expected achievement and actual achievement determined on an individual basis shall be deemed to have a learning disability.

Mental retardation means significantly sub average general intellectual functioning, existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive behavior and manifested during the developmental period that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.

Multiple disabilities means concomitant impairments (such as mental retardation-blindness, mental retardation-orthopedic impairment…), the combination of which cause such severe educational needs that they cannot be accommodated in a special education program solely for one of the impairments. The term does not include deaf-blindness.

Orthopedic impairment means a severe orthopedic impairment that adversely affects a student’s educational performance. The term includes impairments caused by congenital anomaly (e.g. Clubfoot, absence of some member, etc.), impairments caused by disease (e.g., poliomyelitis, bone tuberculosis, etc.), and impairments from other causes (e.g., cerebral palsy, amputation, and fractures or burns which cause contractures).

Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment that is due to chronic or acute health problems, including but not limited to a heart condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or tourette syndrome, which adversely affects a student’s educational performance.

Speech or language impairment means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment or a voice impairment that adversely affects a student’s educational performance.

Traumatic brain injury means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force or by certain medical conditions such as stroke, encephalitis, aneurysm, anoxia or brain tumors which resulting impairments that adversely affects educational performance. The term includes open or closed head injuries or brain injuries from certain medical conditions resulting in mild, moderate, or severe impairments in one or more areas, including cognition, language, memory, attention, reasoning, abstract thinking, judgment, problem solving, sensory, perceptual and motor abilities, psychosocial behavior, physical functions, information processing, and speech. The term does not include injuries that are congenital or caused by birth trauma.
Visual impairment including blindness means an impairment in vision that even with correction, adversely affects a student’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness.

If a child meets criteria for one of the 13 disabling conditions, then the CSE will consider classification. A Draft IEP must be created for these children and turned in prior to the student’s annual review. If the child does not meet any of the criteria for classification, no IEP is needed.


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