Special Education Preschool

  • cooking District 63 provides a continuum of services for preschool-aged children (3-5) with special needs, including:

    Center-based speech therapy: Designed for children who are developing typically except for mild to moderate articulation delays and/or mild expressive language delays, this therapy is delivered at Melzer School in the Early Childhood Center (ECC), during one or two half-hour sessions per week.

    Classroom-based intervention:  

    • Blended special needs pre-kindergarten: half-day (2½ hours), multi-age classroom comprising students who qualify for the Illinois Preschool for All Program, community students, and students with IEPs. The special needs children receive their IEP-related services in and out of the classroom.
    • Structured teaching classroom: half-day (five hours per day) classroom servicing students with moderate-to-severe communication, social-emotional, and sensory needs. These students have a high need for adult support, individualized instruction, and alternative communication, language, and/or behavior systems. Related Services are integrated into the classroom.
    • Life skills/multiple needs classroom: a half-day (2½ hours) classroom for students with severe functional delays who have a high need for adult support, individualized instruction, alternative communication or language systems, and/or motor adaptations. These children may or may not have significant medical needs. Related services are integrated into the classroom.

    Students are placed into classrooms based on the least restrictive environment and their need for adult support to meet their educational goals.

    Related Services
    While attending the First Steps Special Needs Preschool Program, your child may also be eligible for therapy services related to his/her special needs, including:

    • Speech/language therapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Physical therapy
    • Social work or counseling
    • Assistive technology
    • Nursing
    • Vision services
    • Hearing services

    The need for related services will be determined for each child, individually as determined through an individualized diagnostic assessment.

    Preschool Screening and Evaluation
    District 63’s First Steps Preschool also provides screenings for parents who live in the District and are concerned about their three-five year old child’s development. Designed to identify children who may have developmental and educational disabilities in the areas of motor development, concept development, speech and language development, or social development, the process includes a vision and hearing screening. Three, four, and five year old children (who have not yet entered kindergarten) are included in this screening.

    Children identified as having difficulties may be referred for an evaluation, done through scheduled appointments. If the child is determined to be eligible as a result of the evaluation, she/he will receive special education services at no cost.

    This process is also used for entrance into the Preschool for All (At-Risk) Program. For additional information, call 847.745.6487.