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Services for Texas Students with Disabilities Ages 3-5


Early Childhood Memorandum of Understanding (PDF 108 KB)| Preschool Specialist at the Education Service Centers  (PDF 102.96 KB)

Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities

Eligible children with disabilities, ages 3-21, are entitled to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). In Texas, school district Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) provide special education and related services for eligible children with disabilities ages three through five. PPCD refers to the services provided by the school district, not to the place where they are provided.  Eligible children may receive PPCD services in variety settings such as pre-kindergarten, resource, and self-contained classrooms or in community settings such as Head Start and pre-school. 


State Resources

  •  Early Childhood Outcomes and Prekindergarten Guidelines Alignment document. (PDF 3.37 MB) The purpose of this document is to align each Prekindergarten guidelines to one or more of the three Early Childhood Outcomes, and provide educators and families with discussion prompts to explain how each outome relates to the guideline. The document also provides modifications and adaptations for children with special needs and extends to include a developmental continuum for teachers to use in developing appropriate goals for children who are developmentally functioning below four-year-old expectations, based on the guidelines. Additionally, foundational skills that will lead to expected three-year-old and four-year-old skills are discussed throughout the document. The foundational skills can be used to provide a direct link to Prekindergarten Guidelines and as starting point for the students who are the farthest away form age-appropriate skill levels when they enter Early Childhood Special Education Programs. The connection of the foundational skills to the Prekindergarten Guidelines will help educators design developmentally appropriate, individualized goals for their youngest learners including students with disbilities, students learning English as a second language as well as any child who may be at risk educationally.
  • Beyond ECI focuses on the effective transition of children exiting Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) services. This document provides accurate and consistent information to bridge communication between agencies and families while promoting a continuum of services for children.  (PDF 2.39 MB)  English version | Spanish version
  • Early Transition Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) (PDF 108 KB)
    The purposes of this MOU is to define roles and responsibilities between the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Division for Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Services and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) within the respective federal and state mandates; enhance interagency collaboration and relationships; and coordinate an effective system of activities, policies and procedures between the TEA and the ECI which guide and support the development and implementation of transition services for families of children with disabilities who are approaching age three.

  • Joint Guidance   (PDF 25.46 MB) issued by: Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Services and the Texas Education Agency (TEA) concerning New Part B Early Childhood Transition Reporting Requirements 

  •  Key Elements of Early Transition (KEET)
    The KEET Guide  and KEET Checklist  provide guidance for building of relationships between local Early Childhood Intervention programs and Local Educational Agencies as they work together to develop, maintain, evaluate, and refine their collaborative systems for the smooth transition of children and their families who leave Early Childhood Intervention services and enter public school services. Updated: January 2008 
  • Dual Enrollment for families of 3 and 4 year olds in Texas have an option available to them called "Dual Enrollment". In Texas, children ages 3 and 4 may attend a private preschool and still receive services, such as speech therapy, through the public school. Texas made the decision to allow 3 and 4 year olds to be dually enrolled to give them more opportunities to interact with their typically developed peers.
  • Non-categorical Early Childhood (NCEC): Under the Individual with Disabilities Act (IDEA), younger students (ages 3-9) may be eligible for special education and related services under a broader disability category called “Developmental Delay.” States can choose what to call this general category, how they define it, and what age range it applies. In Texas, this category is called “Non-Categorical Early Childhood (NCEC)”. It is for students aged 3-5 who have general delays in their physical, cognitive, communication, social, emotional, or adaptive development; and who, because of these delays, need special education and related services. In Texas, a child between the ages of 3-5 may be described as “NCEC” if he or she has been diagnosed as having one of the following:
    • Mental Retardation,
    • Emotional Disturbance,
    • Specific Learning Disability, or
    • Autism.
    A determination of NCEC must comply with criteria set forth in federal and state law as described in the Non-categorical Early Childhood framework of the Legal Framework for the Child-Centered Process Education Service Center Region 18. For more information on eligibility, please visit Texas Project First
  • Preschool Least Restrictive Environments/Settings Education Service Center Region 20 documentIn accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, schools are responsible for providing students who are receiving special education services the opportunity to participate in school through the least restrictive environment. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that students with disabilities have access to the general curriculum, be involved in the general curriculum, and progress in the general curriculum. As districts begin the process of providing preschool children with access to the general curriculum, some may struggle with steps for initiation and implementation.

    The purpose of this document is to provide an overview of a variety of options for including preschool children. It includes a brief description of each environment, the steps to implementation and additional considerations that might need to be discussed. It is not intended to be a finite list; just a jumping off point to assist decision-makers as they work to develop quality inclusive programs for young children


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Related Links

Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Division for Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Services
The ECI serves Texas families who have babies and toddlers with disabilities or developmental delays. A statewide listing of ECI Programs listed by county is available from ECI.

Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) Center
The ECO Center seeks to promote the development and implementation of child and family outcome measures for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with disabilities. These measures can be used in local, state, and national accountability systems..

Early Head Start National Resource Center (EHS NRC)
The EHS NRC provides training and technical assistance to Head Start's new Early Head Start program, which supports the healthy development of infants, toddlers, and their families, and pregnant women. The EHS NRC is operated by ZERO TO THREE: National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families and WestEd's Center for Child and Family Studies.

Head Start 
Head Start is a child development program that has served low-income children and their families since 1965. The Head Start Bureau maintains this web site as an electronic resource for Head Start service providers, parents, volunteers, community organizations, and others who share an interest in helping children look forward to a brighter future.

National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (NECTAC)
The National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center supports the implementation of the early childhood provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Our mission is to strengthen service systems to ensure that children with disabilities (birth through five) and their families receive and benefit from high quality, culturally appropriate, and family-centered supports and services.

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS)
The DFPS Child-Care Licensing Division is responsible for protecting the health, safety, and well being of children who attend or reside in regulated child-care facilities and homes.


Partners Resource Network (PRN)

PRN is the non-profit agency awarded three PTI Projects which now cover the entire state of Texas. These projects operate independently but do share some central administrative functions. All of the projects share the common purpose of empowering parents of children and youth with disabilities in their roles as parents, decision makers, and advocates for their children. In addition, the PRN publishes the Parent Advocate Quarterly Newsletter  


Texas Project First

Texas Project FIRST has developed this parent-friendly, Bobby-approved bilingual website to provide consistent, accurate information to help parents understand the complex special education issues and become more effective participants in their child’s education process. This web site is a project of the Texas Education Agency.

Technical Assistance

Federal and State Education Policy

1701 North Congress Avenue | Austin, Texas 78701-1494

Telephone: 512.463.9414 | Fax: 512.463.9560


Page last modified on 9/16/2014 09:32:41 AM.