Preschool special education is a state and federal mandated program for three- and four-year-old children who meet state eligibility criteria of developmental delay or disability and are experiencing challenges in their learning and development. A child is eligible if they have a significant delay in one or more areas of development, such as learning, speaking or playing.
Eligible children are entitled to a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment. This means that the required preschool services are to be provided in the least restrictive setting at no cost to parents.
Every school district, or special education administrative unit, provides special education services and currently over 11,797 (Dec. 2010 data) children receive individualized special education preschool services.
Services are funded through a combination of federal special education funding (under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), state special education funding (under the Exceptional Children's Education Act), and through the School Finance Act.
Services are provided through school-based programs and/or under contracts with Head Start and other local community based preschool programs.
- Preschool Special Education Resources
- Exceptional Student Leadership Unit (Special Education)
- PEAK Parent Center - Colorado's parent information, training and technical assistance organization.