It’s preschool time for my speech delayed child! How does Individualized Educational Plan work?

The first thing I want to address is about getting early intervention services. At this age, yes, I would have your child assessed by an Early Intervention agency in your area.

They will send a speech-pathologist and occupational therapist to your home to assess your child’s skills in the areas of speech and language, as well as fine and gross motor development. If your child is eligible, they will create a plan about how many days per week he/she will receive each service. 

Early intervention services are only temporary; a child “ages-out” when they turn three. At that time, you’ll need to look into private speech therapy if your school does not have therapy on site.

This can be a very overwhelming process because not all therapists take insurance, only take certain types of insurance and may have wait-lists.

I encourage you to start thinking about this NOW. If you know the pre-school you are looking into does not have a therapist or does not have a contracted therapist, the earlier you start  to look at private therapies, the better.

Preschools and IEPs

Prior to working full-time in a school district, I worked with several different early intervention agencies. Even after the child “graduated” from Early intervention, I was asked to speak to teachers at their schools so that plans, strategies and goals were carried over into the new setting. This more-so happened when the child graduated from Pre-school and went to kindergarten. 

I’m mentioning this because it’s important that your early intervention therapist does the same thing when your child transitions.

Change is difficult for everyone and children are no different than we are. In any new setting, you may see a regression of skills. That is normal and they will, after some time, be fine and adjust accordingly. 

I’m also mentioning this to you because most Pre-schools do not have IEPs (Individualized Education Plan).

An IEP allows your child to receive special education services throughout their education. There are evaluations that need to be conducted and team meetings held with the schools Child Study Team. It’s a long process, but it’s an integral part in making sure your child is receiving the assistance and modifications necessary to be successful. 

If your child has been diagnosed with a specific syndrome/disorder, it’s important to choose a school that is sensitive to this and is open to communication between you and a private therapist.

Being around “typical” children is great for kids who have speech delays and social skills deficits because they have no choice but to address these needs head on. They will encounter other students and teachers who they need to communicate and play with on a daily basis. This is a good thing, so don’t be nervous about it! 

I encourage you to download the Speech Blubs app for some additional speech practice!

Contact us for more information regarding activities you can do at home to encourage speech development and play skills!

Stacie Bennett, Speech-Language Pathologist, speech therapy

Stacie Bennett has been practicing as a Speech-Language Pathologist for the past ten years. Currently, she works full-time at a vocational high school in New Jersey and have her own private practice. Feel free to contact Stacie if you have any questions!

“My two year old had it for less than a week and he’s already saying more”

Mariah C., Mom