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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, requires states and territories to provide early intervention or special education services to children and young adults. Early intervention is available for children from birth to 3 years old, and special education services are available to children from 3 to 21 years old. Each installation provides specific resources for these programs and services in local schools or health departments. Before moving, identify programs in your area, be prepared and understand while not all services offered are the same – they are required to be comparable.
The IDEA requires that all states and territories provide special education and related services to eligible children between the ages of 3 through 21. Each local school district has a special education director, and each school should have an individualized education program, or IEP, team or school-based committee that supports students with special education needs.
The IDEA requires that if a child transfers to a different district in the same state, the new school must provide a free, appropriate public education, including comparable services, until the previously held IEP is adopted or a new one is developed and implemented. If a child transfers to another state, the receiving district must provide comparable services until the receiving district completes an evaluation and creates a new IEP, if appropriate.
If you are moving and your child receives special education and related services, you should hand-carry all pertinent school and medical documents, including the IEP and current evaluation reports. Hand-carrying these documents ensures that they are not lost and allows the new school district to begin the process as soon as you move.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, requires all states and territories to provide early intervention services to children from birth through 3 years of age who have, or are at risk for having, developmental delays.
Local school districts or health departments often provide these early intervention services. The program is called different names in different areas, but it is often referred to as Part C because it is the section of the law that pertains to early intervention. The national Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center provides a list of State Part C coordinators and funded programs on their website.
When moving, you should hand-carry copies of your child's individual family service plan, or IFSP, and the most current evaluation reports to your new home to ensure they are not lost.
The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education, offers the Parent Center Hub – also known as the Center for Parent Information and Resources – which has collections of links to serve families and adults with special needs from birth through age 26. They assist families in getting appropriate education and services for their children, work to improve education services for all children, train and inform parents and professionals, resolve problems between families and schools or other agencies and connect those with disabilities to community resources. Find your local parenting center and more by visiting their website.
You can also try these resources from Military OneSource:
There are a variety of opportunities for children with special needs who live in the National Capital Region. Services vary depending on where you choose to live and which school district your child will attend.
The DC Public Schools Parents' Special Education Service Center for example, is the only service center of its kind in the United States. This center seeks to identify the primary learning issue and substantiate other information regarding the concern. The parent is then guided to school system specialists and services where they may obtain the help necessary. The center possesses a highly trained staff versed in the complexities of Federal provisions for children in need of special education and in the policies and procedures developed by District of Columbia Public Schools.
Another example is the Sylvan Learning Centers of which there are 10 facilities located within the National Capital Region. While not part of a public school system, they offer personalized instruction to students of all ages and skill levels.
If your child has special needs, contact the Special Needs Identification and Assignment Coordination Program to obtain information on placing your child in a school and making appropriate transportation arrangements with DC Public Schools. The service provided by the base School Bus Transportation Program is not designed to handle the requirements of special needs students and they are prohibited from duplicating a transportation service that DCPS, or any other school, already provides.