How Can My Preschooler Get Services?
“My child has a severe disability and private therapy sessions are getting too expensive.”
“My child requires more treatment sessions than allowed through my insurance. What do I do?”
Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD) provides FREE services to qualifying children with disabilities ages 3-5 years old. But how? Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law passed through congress that provides minimum requirements that each state must meet in order to receive federal special education funding. Under this act, children can receive Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) through PPCD.
Through PPCD, children with disabilities can receive special education services in a regular classroom, dual enrollment (home or private preschool), head start, pre-kindergarten, or other placements on a specific campus in the district, according to the Texas Project First organization.
How Does it Work?
Your child must first be evaluated by your school district to determine eligibility for special education services (this can include articulation difficulties, too!). If approved, your child can enroll in this free program that is run through local school districts in Texas. Ask your school district about choices available for your child, including the type of services that are provided and where services are provided. If you are currently enrolled in some sort of outside therapy (e.g. speech therapy, occupational therapy, ABA), I recommend talking to your therapist about PPCD and gathering recent progress notes and evaluations to take with you to your child’s PPCD evaluation. Though PPCD will administer their own assessment, it can be helpful to bring information regarding your child’s current skills and difficulties, as well as any diagnoses, reported by your current therapist.
So my child qualified… what now?
If your child qualifies for PPCD, the school therapist should go over the results with you and discuss their recommendations. These recommendations may include:
School health services
In home training for parents
If a child is eligible, a committee called the ARD (Admission, Review, and Dismissal committee) makes decisions about specific services and documents recommendation in an IEP (Individual Education Program). So many acronyms. So what do these mean, you ask? Basically, an IEP outlines goals and objectives that were created specifically for your child after their evaluation.
Also, remember parents, you are just as important in this process as anyone else. Yes, there is a team of professionals to help, but you know your child the best. I always recommend asking as many questions as possible, staying engaged with your ARD team, and advocating for anything that you think is best for your child. PPCD can be a confusing process, and every school district is different. However, your private therapists at Mighty Kids Therapy are here help in any way that we can.
If you are looking for more resources checkout:
Liana Martinez, M.A. CCC-SLP