Special Services & Disabilities

The Head Start program ensures that children with special needs receive all services to which they are entitiled under the Head Start Performance Standards, the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Head Start believes that through inclusion in a regular preschool setting children with special needs will often truly have a Head Start in achieving their fullest potential. Inclusion is the belief that all children, including those that are gifted, at risk, physically, emotionally and profoundly disabled, be included for all or part of the day in a typical setting having the Least Restrictive Environment. In this way, Head Start strives to have any special needs met in this classroom whenever possible.

Screening and Evaluation

Children are screened for development, social emotional and speech concerns within 45 days of their enrollment into the Head Start program. Head Start utilizes the Brigance Screening Tool for development and the DECA for social emotional. The speech and language pathologist administers the speech screening and makes recommendations for an evaluation of those children who exhibit deficits. After the evaluation, the speech and language pathologist meets with staff and parents to determine what services, if any, are most appropriate for the child.

A mental health professional assesses each classroom twice each school year for environmental issues that may impact children’s behavior. With parent permmission,the mental health professional may also observe individual children and provide the teaching team and the child’s family with recommendations. The mental health professional may also suggest referrals to other agencies and/or the Local Education Agency for further services.

Ten percent of the children enrolled in Head Start must be children with disabilities and have an Individual Education Plan (IEP) developed by the Local Education Agency (LEA). This document outlines the services to be provided to the child with attainable goals and objectives, needed accommodations, and services to be provided.