Communicate Needs

Using Personas to Describe Your Child

Personas are short snapshots of individual children, which offer insights about your child’s likes or interests. Creating a persona for your child will help you not only to understand your child’s strengths, weaknesses, but it will also allow you to communicate his needs to your early intervention providers. Personas offer a unique perspective of your family and your child, who your child is as a learner as well as well as the challenges he faces each day and his likes and dislikes. The following is an example of a persona of a young child with disabilities from the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute:
» Visit the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

Sharing What You Know with Professionals

Working with practitioners provides you many opportunities to share information and ideas about your child’s likes and interests. You know best about your family and the many things you have done to help your child learn and grow and what you would like help with now. You also have knowledge and life experiences that other team members may not have. You have a lot to contribute to help other team members learn about your child and family. This practice guide includes ideas and strategies that will help you share information with team members.
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Preparing for Your Child’s Transition from Birth to Three

Moving from one program to another one is known as a transition. Your child will eventually age out Birth to Three and, if eligible, your child will transition to Early Childhood Special education. Transitions can be a confusing time for families, there are many unknowns, changes in delivery of services and a whole new team of professionals with whom you do not have a trusting relationship just yet. We know that a well-planned transition can lead to success for your child and your family, and we want to help you prepare for when this time comes.

The first thing you need to know is that transition is a process that includes several steps, and it can begin up to nine months before your child turns three but no less than 90 days prior his 3rd birthday. Under special education law known as IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities education Act), your child has the right to receive FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) at age three and your Birth to Three team oversees a smooth transition to special education Preschool. The following flow chart will show you the steps involved in transition:

Flow Chart Steps Transition from Birth to Three:

  • Notification: When your child is 2 ½ or older, your school district and the state department of education will receive an electronic notification with your child’s name and your contact information from Birth to Three.
  • School is invited to your transition conference: you will be asked to consent to a formal referral to invite the school district to the transition conference. A transition conference can be held as early as 9 months before your child’s 3rd birthday.
  • Transition Conference: a meeting that outlines the transition activities and plan. Your Birth to Three team and school district will follow the steps agreed on and it will include a plan to determine your child’s eligibility for Preschool Special Education services.
  • Eligibility for Preschool Special Education: The school district and the team determine if your child meets criteria to be eligible for Special Education services. They do so by examining reports available from Birth to Three and they can conduct their own evaluation. Eligibility is discussed at a meeting hosted by the school district known as the PPT1 meeting (Planning and Placement Team Meeting) if evaluations are needed, you will need to sign consent to evaluate.
  • Developing the IEP: if your child is eligible for PreK Special Education, you and your child’s team will develop an IEP (Individualized Education Program). An IEP is a legal written document that includes your child’s annual goals and objectives, related services, and accommodations your child will receive.

Tips for Parents During Transition

As you prepare for your transition conference, keep in mind that this is the perfect time for your school district to get to know your child, they are required to be invited by your Birth to Three team. Additionally, you can also invite anyone, including providers outside of Birth to Three system who have been involved with your family and your child. To help you get started, develop a list of questions you would like to have answers for, the following are some examples:

  • How will the school district decide if my child is eligible for special education?
  • What kind of testing will be needed?
  • Who can we call if we have questions?
  • What are some of the similarities and differences between Birth to Three and early childhood special education?
  • What other resources are in the community about which we may want to know?
  • Can I connect with another parent who has completed the transition Process?

At CPAC, our Early Childhood Parent Consultants can help you prepare a list of questions and connect you with other experienced families who have been through the transition process. If you would like to receive a one-to-one consultation regarding transition, feel free to contact us at (860) 730-3089 or email us at: [email protected].

More information about transition can be found at Connecticut Birth to Three System A Family Handbook: Guide 3: Transition to Early Childhood Special Education.