TopicsChoosing Child CareFamilies' RightsFamily & Community EngagementFinancial AssistanceLicensing & SafetyParenting & Child DevelopmentResource & ReferralSpecial Needs
There are a variety of services available for school-age students with special needs. These include special classes, and special tutoring services.
There are also resources for children before they start school.
- Family resource centers. Regional resource centers provide parent-to-parent support and training for children ages 0-3. They also connect parents with early intervention programs for children at risk of developmental disabilities. Call 1-800-515-BABY to find your local family resource center.
- Early intervention services. The California Early Start program provides early intervention services. Children ages 0-3 who qualify for early intervention services receive an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The IFSP identifies the special services your child should receive, and who will provide them. After age 3, If your child is eligible, special services are provided by the school district through an individualized education program (IEP). The IEP describes the goals for your child and the services to help meet them. To see if your child is eligible, call the Early Intervention Intake line at 916-978-6249.
Finding child care for your child with special needs
Finding child care for a child with special needs takes time and consideration. It’s important to remember that while licensed child care providers are not allowed to turn away a child because of their special needs, not all providers are experienced in caring for children with special needs. It may take more time to find the right fit.
The California Department of Education recommends that you:
- Interview caregivers as you would for any child care.
- Ask for references and check them out.
- Visit the facility without your child first. Once you are comfortable, bring your child and see how they react to the staff, materials, and the other children.
- Start child care gradually, working up from 1 hour a day. This will give them time to get used to the provider. And it will help you ensure that the provider can meet their needs.
For more information about finding care for your child with special needs, visit the California Department of Education.