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Early Childhood Special Education


Playing toddlers


Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) services include assessment, consultation, and instruction designed to help children meet developmental milestones. Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) provides early intervention and special education services to children from birth through 6 years of age who exhibit signs of developmental delay or have a health condition that limits their development. Services are tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and are offered across many settings. Service providers work in partnership with the family and strive to help the child achieve their fullest potential.

ECSE Services

Girl Reading a Book

ECSE services cover a wide range of areas and are based on the child's current levels of performance, goals, objectives, and special education needs as written in their Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Individualized Education Plan IEP. 


Depending upon the needs of the particular child, these services can include:

  • Information and referral

  • Screening or Evaluation

  • Home Visits

  • Direct instruction from a licensed ECSE Teacher

  • Speech and Language therapy

  • Physical therapy

  • Occupational therapy

  • Vision or audiology services

  • Psychological services

  • Consultation and ongoing progress review

  • Other modifications or adaptations to the child's environment, curriculum, materials, or equipment

How to Receive Services

Image by Markus Spiske

Our ECSE program works collaboratively with community agencies, families, and caregivers to identify children who may be behind developmentally and could benefit from intervention services. ECSE teams evaluate infants, toddlers, and preschool-age children through a referral process to determine if they qualify for services. The team also can provide resources for parents and caregivers who have questions or concerns about a child's development. These services are provided at no cost to families.


Upon referral, a team member interviews a parent or legal guardian to gather information about the child's medical history and developmental skills. The information is reviewed to determine if further screening or evaluation is needed. If an evaluation is completed and the child meets the Minnesota criteria for a disability category, the child is eligible to receive special education services.

ECSE services are provided in a variety of settings including home, school district ECSE classrooms, and community-based early childhood programs.

Submit a Referral for Services

Visit the Help Me Grow Website to submit a referral


For Questions about ESCS Services

Assistant Director of Special Education

Elizabeth Kabus

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