Birth to Five

The U. S. Department of Education has set up an evaluation study to look at early intervention services (EIS).

” IDEA 2004 emphasizes the early and appropriate identification of children with disabilities, the improvement of outcomes (including performance on state academic assessments) for children receiving IDEA services, and the provision of IDEA services by qualified staff.” Preschool is one entry point where identification errors occur, ones that are often sustained all the way into elementary school and beyond (cf. Bith to 21). The contractor will examine “patterns of identification and outcomes.” The report will be made in 2011.

One of the questions asked is: “What is the variation in the percentage of children identified for early intervention and special education services over time and by age, gender, race/ethnicity, and disability classifications?” Variation of identification will provide information on judgment reliability to place children in early special education programs. Are teams consistent from state to state or school to school?

A second question is: “How do the number (per child served) and the certification of early intervention, special education, and related services personnel vary by personnel type, across States and over time?” How physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, case managers and physicians make their placement decisions might suggest how misidentification controls can be improved.

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