a child turns three years old, he or she transitions from the early intervention
system to the school system. At this time, eligibility criteria change significantly.
Remember that early intervention programs welcome infants and toddlers with
developmental delays or at high risk of developing delays. However, in order
to receive special education services through the school system from age 3 on,
children must have a disability that affects their educational performance.
Because of this more restricted definition, many children with minor delays
do not receive special services after their third birthday.
All children with disabilities are eligible for special education in the school system when they reach their third birthday.
from age 3 to 21 may be eligible for special education under the following thirteen
age 3 through 9 years, states are allowed to provide special education services
for children with "developmental delays" rather than identifying one
of the thirteen categories above. School systems use various diagnostic assessments
and criteria to determine eligibility for special education and related services.
Each childs services are outlined in a formal document known as the Individualized
Education Program (IEP), which is developed by the childs family and
the educational team participants.