Ages Three Through Five

Preparing for the School Years

If your child was part of the Early Start Program, as they reach the age of three, they will be assessed for next steps and, if a need is still present, will transition from an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to an Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Children new to the program will take an assessment for eligibility for SELPA’s preschool special education services (for children ages 3 to 5). The plan will follow them throughout their school

How SELPA Helps

Services provided to eligible preschoolers include language and speech services, individual and small group services, and extra adult support during their time in a preschool class. 

Preschoolers may also qualify for occupational therapy, physical therapy, vision services, deaf/hard of hearing services, and other assistive programs like transportation or health and nursing services.

Common signs of disabilities in a child

It is important to keep in mind that children develop at different rates and in different ways. These differences may be related to temperament, personality, experiences, or health needs that affect their development. The following signs may be cause for concern in any child regardless of age.

  • Often has earaches and other ear, nose, or throat infections
  • Does not seem to acknowledge where sounds are coming from: either looks the wrong direction or doesn’t respond at all
  • Talks loudly or unusually as if they cannot hear their volume or pitch
  • Leans into sounds ear-first as if to hear better
  • Difficulty learning to speak
  • Eyes don’t move together or move quickly/wander
  • Has a hard time seeing at night
  • Moves closer to objects to better see (TVs, books, etc.)
  • Often rubs eyes
  • Eyes are frequently crusty or runny while pupils are cloudy
  • Only uses one eye (closes the other or tilts head so one eye is turned away from what they are looking at)
  • Arms or legs seem stiff 
  • Moves away when hugged
  • Coordination is unusually low
  • Difficulty coloring or tracing
  • Difficulty hitting age-related movement milestones
    • Does not hold their head up in their first six months
    • Isn’t crawling in their first year
    • Does not walk alone or has difficulty holding scribbling by age two
    • Has difficulty turning pages in a book by age three
    • Has difficulty balancing on one foot for a short time by age four
    • Does not skip or hop on one foot by age five
    • Has difficulty drawing simple shapes by age five
  • Avoids eye contact
  • Excessive repetition of movement or other action
  • Difficult to comfort and easily frustrated
  • Obsessive behaviors/difficulty adapting
  • Acts unusually aggressive
  • Difficulty hitting age-related behavior milestones
    • Does not smile or interact with others in their first year
    • Does not play games by age one
    • Does not imitate parent or caregiver doing everyday tasks such as brushing dishes or washing hands
    • Does not play with others as a toddler (age 3)
  • Has a hard time expressing themselves
  • Difficulty hitting age-related communication milestones such as:
    • Making noises to communicate and using simple words in their first year
    • Is not babbling to get attention by six months
    • Does not point at wants in their second year
    • Cannot follow simple directions by age three
    • Does not talk in understandable ways by their fourth year
  • Doesn’t remember things often
  • Often can’t focus
  • Difficulty hitting age-related communication milestones such as:
    • In their second year, does not point to body parts when asked such questions such as “Where is your nose?”
    • Doesn’t like or participate in make-believe by their third year
    • Cannot or chooses not to answer simple questions by their fourth year

Contact Us

If your child is age 3 or older,
please contact your district directly.

DUSD logo

Downey Unified School District

11627 Brookshire Ave., Downey, CA 90241

(562) 469-6586

Montebello Unified School District logo

Montebello Unified School District

123 S. Montebello Blvd., Montebello, CA 90640

(323) 887-7900 x2291