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Preschoolers and the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

Posted Aug 26 2008 4:27pm





When my ADHD son was a preschooler I felt as thought something wasn't "right." Of course since he was my first child the only other children I had to compare him with were my friend's children. He was behind the others in hitting developmental milestones. He was a late talker and walker. He wasn't the least bit interested in toys like the other children either. My friends kept encouraging me. They would assure me that he was fine. "All children develop at different rates" they would say. But, deep down, I knew something was wrong. Something just kept nagging at me. I so wish I would have followed that motherly urging and pursued it further. If only I had brought it to his pediatrician's attention. Maybe his learning disabilities could have been discovered long before they actually were (when he was seven years old). If you are the parent of a preschooler and feel as though he is behind his peers developmentally, socially, or mentally I encourage you to look into it.



According to NCLD "approximately 8% of all young children are identified as having disabilities that may prevent them from reaching developmental milestones as expected." The site goes on to say: "Often times children are not identified at birth as having a disability, but exhibit more subtle issues between the ages of three to five, such as:
  • Speech and language delays or disorders
  • Putting shoes or mittens on the wrong feet or hands
  • Having difficulty remembering direction
  • Seeming uninterested in playing early learning games or listening to stories
  • Seeming mildly uncoordinated

The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is for children from birth to age 21 .

If your child is between ages 3-5, they can be evaluated for a developmental delay or specific learning disability (SLD) and access intervention services under IDEA part B section 619 for free.

For more information about the law and your preschool age child, visit NCLD's Parent Center and download their free Parent Advocacy Brief, Preschool Services Under IDEA. You can also sign up for the NCLD's free eNewsletter here .

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