Special needs children enter the program through the TEAM Evaluation process. Preschool age children are referred by parents, pediatricians or community agencies. Each child is evaluated to determine if a disability exists. Following these assessments the TEAM meeting is held. If the child is determined to have a disability, and is eligible for special education services, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is written. Services provided to special needs children are determined by the TEAM and may include speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy and adapted physical education. The TEAM also determines if a child will benefit from placement in a self contained class, one with special needs children only, or in an integrated class, one with special needs children and typically developing children who serve as peers. Children must be a minimum of three (3) years old to enter the program. Peers are usually three and four years old.
Typically, developing children who serve as peers are screened in late spring to enter school for the following September. Screening is done by appointment only. Children accepted as peers must be toilet trained, separate easily from their parents and have good language and play skills. If more children pass the screening process than there are spaces available, a lottery is held to select the children.