Memorandum of Understanding Between Texas Health and Human Services and the Texas Education Agency
TEA: Early Childhood Education in Texas
TEA State Performance Plan (SPP) Indicator 12
The Eleanor and Charles Garrett Center on Transition and Disability Studies at Sam Houston State University
The Garrett Center provides information, professional development, training, and resources on transition and other special education topics to university preservice teachers, practicing educators from early childhood special education through 18+ programs, students with disabilities, their families, state agencies, and the community.
U.S. Department of Education: Policy Statement on Inclusion of Children with Disabilities in Early Childhood Programs
Early childhood special education (ECSE) is a federal and state-mandated program for young children with disabilities. ECSE refers to the range of special education services that apply specifically to children between the ages of 3 and 5, prior to kindergarten. Eligible children with disabilities, ages 3-21, are entitled to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) in accordance with their individual needs. In Texas, services for eligible children with disabilities ages 3-5 are provided free of charge through the public school system. Eligible children may receive ECSE services in a variety of settings that may include their home, childcare setting, or a public school, as determined by the child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).
As early childhood special educators, you are knowledgeable about the transition from the IDEA Part C to Part B services, but what do you know about the other IDEA-required transition--the transition from high school exit to adult settings? Early to exit means thinking about post-school outcomes for children from the time they are in early childhood special education to when they exit high school, as opposed to only thinking about postsecondary outcomes when it is required “not later than when the child reaches age 14” (TEC §29.0111). Educators who have an early to exit perspective can help the child have a better transition to adulthood because educational decisions are made from the start, incrementally building the child’s skills needed for success as an adult. As an early childhood special educator, what you do truly has a lasting impact on children and their families.
Early to exit does not mean that the federal or state requirements have changed to include transition planning during early childhood. The current Texas requirement is to implement transition planning “not later than when the child reaches age 14” (TEC §29.0111). Early to exit means discussions about the future begin at the ECSE and elementary school levels. When early to exit discussions occur, families and educators can make decisions and problem-solve potential barriers a child may encounter as they progress through school and then to adult life. The ECSE and elementary school expectations, goals, services, and curriculum we choose can and does impact the child’s life after they leave school. Providing information and resources that promote the discussion and decision-making process for families and educators is an essential element of planning across the lifespan from early to exit.
Early to exit resources can be found on the sidebar and tabs on this site.
Title "Early Childhood Interventions-Part C (ECI) to Local Education Agency-Part B (LEA)
Accessible Flowchart based on Federal and State Regulatory Requirements"
Is the child receiving services under ECI-Part C?
How long has the child received services under ECI-Part C?
Did ECI obtain parental consent to refer to the local education agency where the child resides?
The child has received services under ECI- Part C more than 90 days prior to the child’s third birthday.
The child has received services under ECI-Part C more than 45 days but less than 90 days prior to the
child’s third birthday.
The child has received services under ECI-Part C fewer than 45 days prior to the child’s third birthday
and ECI obtains parental consent to refer to the LEA where the child resides.
Parent objects (opts out) to disclosure of personally identifiable information to the LEA.
Part B referral and eligibility determination process.
Shogren, Wehmeyer, Palmer, Forber-Pratt, Little, and Lopez (2015) define self-determination as a “dispositional characteristic manifested as acting as the causal agent in one’s life. Self-determined people (i.e., causal agents) act in service to freely chosen goals. Self-determined actions function to enable a person to be the causal agent in his or her life” (p. 258). Individuals with disabilities who have higher levels of self-determination tend to have better transition outcomes and report higher satisfaction with their lives (Shogren et al., 2015). Because of the evidence linking self-determination to positive post-school outcomes, Texas educators are required to consider and address, if appropriate, “the use and availability of appropriate supplementary aids, services, curricula, and other opportunities to assist the student in developing decision-making skills; and supports and services to foster the student's independence and self-determination” (TAC §89.1055(j)(10)(A) and (B)).
Shogren, K. A., Wehmeyer, M. L., Palmer, S. B., Forber-Pratt, A. J., Little, T. J., & Lopez, S. (2015). Causal agency theory: Reconceptualizing a functional model of self-determination. Education and Training in Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 50(3), 251-263.
Explore the following links to learn more about self-determination.
The 2BSD provides information and resources for self-determination, using an action model for self-determination. You can use this website to learn about the concept of self-determination. This link goes directly to a manual that provides materials that early childhood education and care and support providers can use to infuse self-determination in their program offerings.
The I’m Determined project, a state-directed project funded by the Virginia Department of Education, focuses on providing direct instruction, models, and opportunities to practice skills associated with self-determined behavior. This link leads to the educator page. The resources link on this page leads to materials such as videos of people with disabilities explaining self-determination.
University of Kansas Beach Center on Disability: Self-determination
The Beach Center on Disability focuses research, training, and advocacy on promoting abilities of people of all ages who experience disability, to assure a self-determined, goal-driven, and self-selected quality of life within communities where everyone lives. There is a link to a book, Self-Determination Across the Lifespan, that has a chapter on self-determination as a goal of early childhood and elementary education.
University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center: Fostering Self-determination Among Children and Youth with Disabilities
This book can be used to learn about self-determination and how to increase it in children. You can also share this resource with parents, as the book was written by parents and for parents.
The links on this tab are to ECSE resources for educators. In Texas, ECSE was formerly known as preschool programs for children with disabilities (PPCD).
Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center
The Early Childhood Technical Assistance (ECTA) Center provides technical assistance to state Part C and Section 619 programs. Under their “Resources,” you can find information on many topics relating to early childhood, sign up for eNotes, and join a learning community.
Texas Education Agency: Early Childhood Educator Resources
This link leads to the Texas Education Agency’s resource page for early childhood educators. On this website you can find information about upcoming webinars, assessment tools, and curriculum.
The links below are for ECSE educators to share with families who are learning about disability and disability resources.
Navigate Life Texas
Navigate Life Texas has resources and support for families of children with disabilities and special health care needs. Families can learn more about specific disabilities and what to do after getting a diagnosis.
Parent Companion was written by parents to provide support and information to Texas families of children from birth through 5 years of age who have diagnosed or suspected disabilities. Families can find information on developmental milestones, agencies that assist families, and what to do after getting a diagnosis.
Partners Resource Network
Partners Resource Network operates the Texas statewide network of Parent Training and Information Centers that provide resources on issues pertinent to parents such as understanding their child’s disability, understanding their rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, and how to obtain services.
Sibling Leadership Network
The Sibling Leadership Network provides siblings of individuals with disabilities the information, support, and tools to advocate with their brothers and sisters. Siblings can connect with other siblings and learn about topics such as supported decision-making and future planning.
SPEDTex: Parent Resources
The Special Education Information Center (SPEDTex) provides resources to support the development and delivery of services to children with disabilities in Texas. Parents can explore the resources on this link to discover ways they can get support and be involved in their child’s education.
Texas Education Agency: Early Childhood Education Family Resources
This link leads to the Texas Education Agency’s resource page for parents of students in early childhood programs. You can share the information and resources found on this website with your students’ families.
Texas Family to Family Network: Parent Resources
Family to Family Network provides families with information on special education, referrals to community resources, and trainings on disability topics. This link takes you to the “Parent Resources” page, where educators can obtain information about disabilities, IEP support, medical and community support, and more for their students’ families.
Texas Parent to Parent
Texas Parent to Parent (TxP2P) uses a parent-to-parent peer model to provide support, information, and education to families and educators. The website has information about their resources and trainings.
Texas Project FIRST: Transition to Preschool from ECI
This page from Texas Project FIRST (created for parents by parents) provides information about the transition from early childhood intervention (ECI) to early childhood special education. The homepage also has many other informational resources, too.
Independent living services help people with disabilities achieve greater independence in the home and community. Many programs for people with disabilities require documentation of disability and services may be limited, so it is important for families to understand these community supports and how to access these services. The sites below will help you provide families with information about the services that are available to help their child become an active part of their community.
The PACER Center works to enhance the quality of life of individuals with disabilities by providing information on early childhood topics to students and their families. On this part of the PACER website, you can find early childhood information to share with families as well as training materials and publications for you.
Texas Health and Human Services: Disability
The disability section of the Texas Health and Humans Services website has information pertaining to people who have disabilities, including information about federal programs such as Medicaid, Social Security, and Supplemental Security Income. There is also information about programs and services for specific disabilities such as brain injury, autism, visual impairments, hearing impairments, intellectual disability, and medical or physical disabilities.
Texas Health and Human Services: Independent Living Services
Independent living services are provided by centers for independent living (CILs), which are located throughout the state. CILs are not residential living centers. CILs help people with disabilities achieve greater independence in their homes and communities by providing information and referrals, skills training, goals counseling, advocacy training, and transition services. This website has links to all the CILs in Texas and describes who is eligible for independent living services and the type of services available.
Texas Health and Human Services: Local Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authority
The Local Intellectual and Developmental Disability Authority (LIDDA) provides services and supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and enrolls eligible individuals into Medicaid programs. On this website, you can find detailed information about the services provided by LIDDAs.
Texas Health and Human Services: Local Mental Health Authorities/Local Behavioral Health Authorities
Community mental health services are provided through Local Mental Health Authorities/Local Behavioral Health Authorities (LMHA/LBHA), also referred to as community mental health centers. The LMHAs/LBHAs provide services to a specific geographic area of the state, called the local service area. You can find contact information for all the community mental health centers in Texas on this website.
Your Texas Benefits
This website has information about state benefit programs that help people with and without disabilities who have little or no money get access to basic needs such as food, health care, and support services.
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