Including children with disabilities in supportive early childhood settings doesn't just benefit the child - it also betters their peers, families and communities. Here, you'll find state and national resources that help make sure your child has the highest-quality early childhood education.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Programs and Services
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the United States. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention (services for children under 3 years old), special education (services for children 3-21 years old) and related services.
Part C: Early Intervention (children birth until age 3) – Babies Can’t Wait
Babies Can’t Wait is Georgia’s statewide inter-agency service for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities, and their families. Babies Can’t Wait was established by Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which guarantees all eligible children, regardless of their disability, access to services that will enhance their development.
Click Here if you suspect that your infant or toddler may be in need of a developmental evaluation. You can also contact your local Children’s 1st Coordinator or Babies Can’t Wait Coordinator to discuss your concerns and next steps.
To contact your local Babies Can’t Wait Coordinator, use the Program Coordinator List and search for your local health district
Part B, Section 619: Preschool Special Education (children 3-5 years old) – Georgia Department of Education
The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B, Section 619 is intended to help states ensure that all preschool‐aged children (3 through 5 years old) with disabilities receive special education and related services. The Georgia Department of Education is the state education agency responsible for general supervision and monitoring of this provision. In Georgia, preschool-aged children with disabilities receive their special education and related services through local school districts.
For additional information regarding initial evaluations and eligibility for services, you can view the Parent to Parent Roadmap for Success, or contact the Preschool Special Education Coordinator in your school district.
Find an Inclusion Specialist
To make sure children with disabilities get the services they need, DECAL has a team of regionally-based Inclusion Specialists. Inclusion Specialists provide training and intensive professional development to empower child care providers, early learning professionals, families and communities. By learning to identify and utilize resources, services and supports, you can help ensure that all children are included in early care and learning environments. Inclusion Specialists also work to create more local child care options for children with disabilities.
To locate your regional Inclusion Specialist, click here.
Almost one in four children through the age of five are at risk for a developmental delay or disability. Developmental screenings allow for early identification, which in turn leads to more effective and cheaper treatment options. Here are three resources on developmental screening to start with:
Birth to Five: Watch Me Thrive Information and resources for families, early learning professionals, community members and others on healthy child development, developmental monitoring and behavioral screening from the Department of Health.
Easter Seals Make the First Five Count Families can complete an online Ages and Stages Questionnaire and have the results and suggested activities emailed to them.
Learn the Signs. Act Early. Checklists, brochures, videos and other resources for families and early educators from the CDC.