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Preschool IEP Road Map

Preschool-age children with a disability may be eligible for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that provides special education and related services through MCPS.

There are two main on-ramps to the IEP process for 3- to 5-year-olds. Which of these applies depends on whether the child is already receiving services through the Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers Program:

1. Children Receiving Services Through the Infants and Toddlers Program

Montgomery County Infants and Toddler Program (MCITP) provides early intervention services to children, birth to age 3, with developmental and special needs. If your child is receiving services through MCITP:

  • Expect to have a transition planning meeting no later than 90 days before your child’s third birthday. You’ll review your child’s development and progress, discuss possible next steps, and go over the preschool special education eligibility process.
  • If you would like your child to be considered for special education, a meeting will be held prior to the child's third birthday to determine eligibility. Representatives from MCITP and MCPS will be part of the team that determines your child’s eligibility. Remember, parents/guardians are also part of this team. 
  • If your child is deemed eligible, the family may choose to continue to receive MCITP services through an extended Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), or the child can transfer to an IEP. An IFSP focuses on family support and caregiver coaching, while an IEP concentrates on direct services to the child, although a parent educator sometimes provides additional support. Families may keep an IFSP until the start of the school year after a child turns 4, at which point eligible children will move to an IEP.

2. Children Not Currently Served Through the Infants and Toddlers Program

If your child is not receiving services through Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers Program:

  • Contact Child Find if you have concerns about your child’s development. On the Child Find webpage, you’ll find a link at the bottom that tells you how to start the referral process. Email the specified paperwork and information to ChildFind@mcpsmd.org or mail it to Child Find, English Manor, 4511 Bestor Drive, Room 146, Rockville, Maryland 20853.
  • Child Find will contact you to schedule a free developmental screening to identify whether your child might have a disability.
  • If the Child Find screeners identify any potential concerns, they will recommend a comprehensive developmental evaluation, which is also offered for free.
  • After the comprehensive evaluation, an IEP eligibility meeting will be scheduled to discuss the results. Team members will determine if the student is eligible for an IEP and, if so, will develop an IEP that specifies preschool services and/or placements.

Do you have concerns about a younger child?

If you have concerns about a child younger than 34½ months, contact Montgomery County Infants and Toddlers Program or complete an online referral here

Do you have concerns about an older child?

Parents of students in kindergarten and above should contact their neighborhood school to request an evaluation. For rising kindergartners, you'll contact your neighborhood school, rather than Child Find, once it gets to be late spring. See the xMinds IEP Roadmap for navigating the process for kindergartners to age 21.

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