The IDEIA requires that states provide special education services242 to children with disabilities beginning at the age of three. Special education services are provided by local school districts. Therefore, if your child has been receiving early intervention services through the state early intervention office, you will stop working with this office, and you will begin to work with the special education department within your local school district.
The focus of special education is different from that of early intervention. Whereas early intervention focuses on the entire family and seeks to minimize the overall developmental impact of your child's disability, special education services ensure that your child receives an adequate education, regardless of disabilities or special needs.
The document that spells out your child's needs and how these needs will be met is the individualized education plan (IEP). Like the IFSP in Early Intervention programs, the IEP describes your child's strengths and weaknesses, sets out goals and objectives, and details how these can be met within the context of the school system. Unlike the IFSP, the IEP is almost entirely about what happens within school walls.
For Special Education Services, if your child is three or older, contact your local school district.