Families & Communities (Birth - 3 Years of Age):
The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part C is intended to help states ensure that all infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities, and their families receive early intervention. In Delaware, four disability classifications are considered for birth mandate eligibility. These four disability classifications are: Autism, Deaf-Blind, Hearing Impairment and Visual Impairment. The Governor of Delaware has designated the Department of Health and Social Services, specifically Birth To Three, as the lead agency to implement Part C.
Early Childhood Special Education services address the needs of children with various disabilities or developmental delays. Studies show that children who receive intervention are more likely to graduate high school and become contributing members of society. Ninety percent of a child’s brain is developed by age five, therefore children need to begin services as early as possible.
For those children identified under birth mandate classifications, local school districts are responsible for evaluating, determining eligibility and ensuring access to appropriate services. These children are eligible for free and appropriate public education (FAPE) at no cost to the families.