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Transition From Birth to Three

Aug. 10, 2022

Children age out of Early Intervention (Birth to Three, sometimes known as B23) services on their 3rd birthday and become eligible for special education services. The transition is not automatic, however, and some 20% of B23 eligible kids do not get Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). So, if your child is turning 3 soon, you need to be alert to the next steps. 

It is important to understand the differences between the two programs. While Birth to Three focuses on helping the family meet the developmental needs of their child, special education focuses on the child and his or her educational needs.   

Understanding the transition process is important in helping create as smooth a transition as possible for your child. Transition planning can begin as early as 9 months prior to but no later than 90 days prior to a child’s 3rd birthday. Usually, when a child is around 2.5 years old, Birth to Three will refer the child to the school district. Then, Birth to Three holds a transition meeting for the family to get to know the school district, ask questions, discuss their child’s needs, their priorities as parents, and what programs are available after Birth to Three. Next, the school district holds a Planning and Placement Team (PPT) Meeting, which the parents attend, to decide which evaluations are needed. There is a second PPT meeting that will examine the results of the evaluations and determine whether the child is eligible for special education services. If the child is determined to be eligible, the school district will design an IEP that describes the special education services the child will receive. Parents who disagree with what the school proposes have a panoply of due process rights to challenge the proposed program. Still, the school district is under no obligation to continue the level or type of services provided by the B23 provider. 

It is important to prepare your child for what comes next. Consider visiting your child’s new school so that you can meet their teachers and become familiar with their daily routine. In addition, know that you are not always going to agree with the school district. Advocate for your child. Communicate your own needs and priorities. You know your child best.