Transitioning from ECI Services to a Local School

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Disability Rights Texas Handout

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What happens after ECI?

If your child receives Early Child Intervention (ECI) services, they will graduate from ECI on the day they turn three. It is important that, upon exiting ECI, your child properly transitions to a setting that will continue to provide the supports and services that they need to succeed. Because of how crucial the continuation of services is, the planning for transition to preschool should begin much sooner before your child stops receiving ECI services.

When does the transition process begin?

The ECI provider must conduct a meeting to plan the appropriate steps and transition services in the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The meeting must be conducted 90 days before, but not more than 9 months before, your child turns three. If your child was referred to ECI less than 90 days before they turn three, the appropriate steps and transition services must be included in the initial IFSP developed. The following people should attend the meeting at which you will discuss transition:

  • Parent
  • Any individual who has worked with your child (therapist, counselors, feeding specialist, etc.)
  • A public-school representative
  • Any other person you invite

What should I expect from my ECI provider?

The IFSP should include steps and transition services to help your child transition out of ECI. These steps and services may look like:

  • Determining whether your child is eligible for special education services
  • With your consent, facilitate the process for you to learn about special education services
  • Assisting you in exploring other service options in the community setting
  • Assisting your family in determining whether there are other needs that should be addressed after exiting ECI

If your child is potentially eligible for special education services, the ECI provider, with your consent, must refer your child to your local school district by notifying them that your child may be eligible for special education services.

What should I expect from my local school?

Upon receiving notice from your ECI provider that your child may be eligible for special education services, your local school must evaluate your child. The evaluations should be conducted within 45 days of receiving the notice.

After conducting the evaluations, the school must hold an Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) within 30 days of the evaluations being completed. At the ARD meeting you and other members of the ARD committee will determine whether your child is eligible for special education services.  If your child is eligible, you and the school will develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

An IEP is a lot like an IFSP and will act as the roadmap for the supports and services your child will receive. The IEP should contain:

  • Your child’s present level of academic achievement and functional performance
  • Your child’s academics and functional goals
  • Your child’s educational placement
  • The services your child will be provided

For guidance on ARD meetings and IEP development, see the IDEA Manual.

What are some important things to keep in mind when attending the initial ARD meeting?

  • You should invite people that have worked with your child to the initial ARD meeting (members of your child’s ECI IFSP team, family members, others who know your child and want to support you at the meeting).
  • You may use your child’s ECI IFSP and the information that is recorded as a tool when developing the IEP.
  • The school must provide services to your child in the least restrictive environment. This means your child has a right to be educated, to the maximum extent appropriate, with their non-disabled peers in the general education setting.
  • Your child is entitled to an education that enables them to make educational progress.
  • You are an expert in your child’s abilities and are one of the most important decision makers at the ARD meeting. Express your concerns and make sure they are considered.

What to do if you are not properly transitioned?

The ECI service coordinator should continue to provide information and be a liaison for your family in order to help you obtain services for your child after they leave ECI. If your child is not eligible for special education, the service coordinator should discuss options for other appropriate services for your child and family.

If your local school has not conducted evaluations or attempted to schedule a meeting with you to address your child’s special education eligibility, please contact Disability Rights Texas for assistance at 1-800-252-9108.

Created: November 20, 2020
Publication Code: ED27

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Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.

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