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Legal Resources |  |  EC  56441.11  

Special Education Eligibility; Preschool Children   

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(a) Notwithstanding any other law or regulation, the special education eligibility criteria in subdivision (b) shall apply to preschool children, between the ages of three and five years.

(b) A preschool child, between the ages of three and five years, qualifies as a child who needs early childhood special education services if the child meets the following criteria:

(1) Is identified as having one of the following disabling conditions, as defined in Section 300.8 of Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, or an established medical disability, as defined in subdivision (d):

(A) Autism.

(B) Deaf-blindness.

(C) Deafness.

(D) Hearing impairment.

(E) Intellectual disability.

(F) Multiple disabilities.

(G) Orthopedic impairment.

(H) Other health impairment.

(I) Emotional disturbance.

(J) Specific learning disability.

(K) Speech or language impairment in one or more of voice, fluency, language and articulation.

(L) Traumatic brain injury.

(M) Visual impairment.

(N) Established medical disability.

(2) Needs specially designed instruction or services as defined in Sections 56441.2 and 56441.3.

(3) Has needs that cannot be met with modification of a regular environment in the home or school, or both, without ongoing monitoring or support as determined by an individualized education program team.

(4) Meets eligibility criteria specified in Section 3030 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

(c) A child is not eligible for special education and services if the child does not otherwise meet the eligibility criteria and his or her educational needs are due primarily to:

(1) Unfamiliarity with the English language.

(2) Temporary physical disabilities.

(3) Social maladjustment.

(4) Environmental, cultural, or economic factors.

(d) For purposes of this section, "established medical disability" means a disabling medical condition or congenital syndrome that the individualized education program team determines has a high predictability of requiring special education and services.

(e) When standardized tests are considered invalid for children between the ages of three and five years, alternative means, including scales, instruments, observations, and interviews, shall be used as specified in the assessment plan.

(f) In order to implement the eligibility criteria in subdivision (b), the Superintendent shall do all of the following:

(1) Provide for training in developmentally appropriate practices, alternative assessment, and placement options.

(2) Provide a research-based review for developmentally appropriate application criteria for young children.

(3) Provide program monitoring for appropriate use of the eligibility criteria.

(g) If legislation is enacted mandating early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities pursuant to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (20 USC Sec. 1400 et seq.), the Superintendent shall reconsider the eligibility criteria for preschool children, between the ages of three and five years, and recommend appropriate changes to the Legislature.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 186, Sec. 57.)