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Friend lives in a rural place where elementary school doesn't have a preschool


fl_mom
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But they gave a special needs three year old and the school says there's nothing they can do.  Isn't there a way of making the school provide therapy, OT, speech, or something?

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Under IDEA, public schools need to identify students who are in need of special education (and an IEP) starting at age 3.  There is no 'we don't do this' for this situation.

I would make sure there is a paper/email trail of the request for a sp ed eval that the parents did for their child as well as the public school's reply.  If the school says they do not deal with preschoolers, you need to file a state complaint and the paper/email trail serves as evidence the school isn't doing what it needs to do.  The agency that handles these complains might be different from the one that deals with school age students.  (If I knew what state this was, I might be able to provide a link to the agency that does this in your state.)  In my area, our rep to the state capital would have contact info & be able to help this parent.  Your area might be different.

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If your friend's child is in your state's Early Intervention program, the EI program should have done a referral to the public school system, and the school should have evaluated whether they suspect a disability under Child Find. Is it possible that the rural school doesn't have a PreK program at that physical location, but perhaps they contract with a county agency that provides a PreK program for children with special needs? If the child has a disability that falls under one theIDEA disability categories and the disability is hindering participation in the educational environment, the school system should have done an ETR and created an IEP for the child. 

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The district may not have bothered to place a preschool in that area, but surely there's something they could do. The district could send someone out for services from its main office, or your child could be bussed (or compensated for transportation) to another school with a preschool. Like Jenna said, there's a good chance they might contract with county services in these situations. I understand a rural school not having the resources to keep up a regular preschool, but that doesn't mean IEP services can't be provided.

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