Families of 3- and 4-year-olds in Texas have an option available to them called “Dual Enrollment.” In Texas, children ages 3 and 4 can go to a private preschool and receive services, such as speech therapy, through the public school. As another option, preschoolers may stay home (like many children this age do) and receive needed public school services. Recognizing that many PPCD programs are designed only for students with disabilities, Texas made the decision to allow 3- and 4-year-olds to be dually enrolled to give them more opportunities to interact with their typically developing peers.
Examples of dual enrollment include:
A child with Cerebral Palsy is enrolled in the private preschool at the family church. The family decides that they want to dually enroll their child and bring him/her to the public school once a week for physical therapy. In order to do this, the ARD committee determines goals for physical therapy and the services begin.
A child with Down Syndrome is enrolled in a neighborhood preschool. The public school has an arrangement with the private preschool to provide an itinerant PPCD teacher. This means that the public school works with the private preschool by providing a special educator to work with the child with disabilities in the private setting, or to provide supports to that teacher in the private setting.
Parents should know that special education and related services are available at no cost to families. However, families are responsible for any fees associated with a private placement.
Services will continue until the end of the school year in which the student turns five, or until the student is eligible to attend a district’s public school kindergarten program, whichever comes first.
NOTE: Transportation is a related service that should be discussed in the ARD meeting. The district must provide transportation if the child’s parents cannot. This requirement by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act applies to 3-5 year olds who may not be attending the school’s preschool program, but who need special transportation in order to get to speech or other therapies they receive through the school district. Transportation from the child’s home to the private preschool is not an eligible service.
- Least Restrictive Environment/Inclusion Preschool LRE Environments/Settings (Region 20 ESC)
- OSEP Dear Collegue Letter Regarding LRE for Preschool Children (pdf) – This letter clarifies how least restrictive environment (LRE) requirements apply to the placement of preschool children with disabilities.
- Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center Proposed Benefits of Inclusion and Research & Studies on Inclusion
- Division of Early Childhood (DEC) and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – Joint Position Statement on Early Childhood Inclusion
- Inclusive Schools Network – Early Childhood Resources
- Disability is Natural articles by Kathie Snow – Environment, Environment, Environment and Special Education Preschools, Help or Hindrance
- Head Start
- State Funded Pre-Kindergarten
- Texas Education Agency – Services for Texas Students with Disabilities – Ages 3-5
- Student Attendance & Accounting Handbook – See Section 4
This information comes from the Texas Project First website – a project of the Texas Education Agency committed to providing accurate and consistent information to parents and families of students with disabilities.