As you know, Early Intervention only covers kids who are under 3. But don't worry!
This just means that you graduate from EI. If you still need services, the school system steps in to support you in the same way. Your coordinator will help you and your child to prepare for this. it's called transition.
What happens when your child turns 3?
You will stop getting EI services on the day before your child's 3rd birthday.
If your child still needs services, your EI team will connect you with your town's school system and go through a similar process as with EI. Your child will have a new evaluation, and you'll get a school liaison (coordinator) who will help you plan a new set of services.
Your child may also be able to go to a free preschool program that fits their needs.
What you can do:
Think now about what you want for your child in the next few years.
Be ready to start the formal transition planning when your child is 2 1/2 (2 years and 6 months)
Ask your service coordinator if you have questions
Click the box below for a basic list of what will happen:
If your child still needs services at age 3, the public school system will step in and help you in the same way Early Intervention did.
You will go through a similar process of getting an evaluation and writing a service plan.
Here's what you will do:
Have a transition planning conference with your family service coordinator
Fill out the transition plan in your IFSP
Look in into local programs and activities that your child may like
Create a transition packet (or binder) this has all the records and other information you'll need
Have another evaluation , if needed, to see if your child still qualifies for services
What to know about timing:
Start thinking about transition as soon as your child starts EI. But when your child is 2, make sure you have talked about this with your service coordinator.
You can start planning formally as early as 9 months before your child's 3rd birthday.
You must have a conference with your service coordinator at least 3 months before 3rd birthday.
EI services will stop on your child's 3rd birthday, and the new services can start.
What to know about qualifying through the school system:
A child who has been in EI does not automatically qualify for services through the school system.
While EI serves children with developmental delays, a child must have a disability to qualify through the school system.
Your child will have a different evaluation to see if they qualify.
If your child will keep getting services through the school system:
Connect with your local school system's special education department.
Have a Team Meeting with EI and the school system.
Create a new plan with the school system. This is like an IFSP, but is called an IEP.
Source: MA DOE
Sources: MA DPH, Family TIES of MA