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(3.20) What are the eligibility criteria for children from age three through five years of age?

(3.20) What are the eligibility criteria for children from age three through five years of age?

Eligibility criteria for preschool children are the same as the criteria for school-age children.  To be eligible for special education, a child must have one of the following disabling conditions:

  1. Autism;
  2. Deaf-blindness;
  3. Deafness;
  4. Emotional disturbance;
  5. Hearing impairment;
  6. Intellectual disability;
  7. Multiple disabilities;
  8. Orthopedic impairment;
  9. Other health impairment (such as attention deficit disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, Tourette Syndrome, dysphagia, fetal alcohol syndrome, bipolar disorders, or other organic neurological disorders, see Fed. Reg. Vol. 71, No. 156, p. 46550);
  10. Specific learning disability;
  11. Speech or language impairment in one or more of voice, fluency, language, and articulation;
  12. Traumatic brain injury;
  13. Visual impairment; or
  14. Established medical disability (a disabling medical condition or congenital syndrome that the IEP team determines has a high predictability of requiring special education and services).

[34 C.F.R. Sec. 300.8; 5 C.C.R. Sec. 3030; Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56441.11.]

In addition to having one or more of the qualifying conditions, a child must need specially designed instruction or services to qualify for special education, and must also have needs that cannot be met with modification of a regular environment in the home or school, or both, without ongoing monitoring or support as determined by an IEP team.  [Cal. Ed. Code Secs. 56441.11(b)(2) & (3).]

A child is not eligible for special education and services if she does not otherwise meet the eligibility criteria and her educational needs are due primarily to:

  1. Unfamiliarity with the English language;
  2. Temporary physical disabilities;
  3. Social maladjustment; or
  4. Environmental, cultural, or economic factors.

[Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56441.11(c); see Chapter 13, Information on Preschool Education Services.]