Early Childhood Identification and Services

Early Childhood Summary of Services

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) services include special instruction and related services provided to all children ages 2 through 5, who qualify under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA, Part B, Section 619). Fairfax County’s ECSE program ensures the provision of a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to all children who are found eligible for those services at no cost to their families, and in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). The LRE means children with disabilities receive services in typical community-based preschool settings and programs whenever possible, and only receive services in a more restrictive environment when their individual needs require it.

Services are based on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) which is developed with the parents of each child who is eligible for special education services. Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) offers early childhood resource services, early childhood class-based services, and preschool autism classes.

Early Childhood resource services provide instructional activities to children in a variety of community settings as agreed to by the IEP team. Early childhood special educators work with students and families to address specific developmental needs as outlined on the IEP. ECSE teachers collaborate with parents, other caregivers, and community professionals to incorporate skill building strategies into the child’s daily activities.

Early Childhood class-based services provide instruction in a school-based classroom. These services are located in a number of elementary schools within FCPS. Children receive both individualized and small group instruction to address areas of need identified in the child’s IEP. The curriculum is language rich and emphasizes communication, early literacy and social development along with development in other areas. There are also three sites in FCPS which provide services specifically to children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Preschool autism class (PAC) services are designed to address the specific needs of preschool-age children who have been identified as having Autism Spectrum Disorder or present characteristics on the autism spectrum, and who cannot benefit from the early childhood class-based program. The program uses Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Verbal Behavior (VB) to foster communication, social skills, appropriate behavior and other skill development. Classes are designed with a reduced adult to student ratio and systematic instruction is provided in a highly structured setting to maximize learning.

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Last Updated

August 15, 2011