Children come into the world with a genetic makeup and temperament that is amazing to watch unfold. Early childhood development is a dynamic interplay between a child's physical characteristics and interactions with people and objects within the environment. This relationship between the brain, body, and environment influences a child's development in all areas. Early intervention helps identify any difficulties or delays in the developmental process and intervenes at the very earliest stages to help a child progress to his or her full potential.
Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) services are available to students in Bloomington from birth to age seven. While students within this age range often qualify for services under the Developmental Delay category, eligibility can be based upon having a disability that falls under one of the other 12 areas described in Minnesota special education regulations.
Bloomington Public Schools offers a wide array of ECSE services. Services are determined by the student's Individual Education Plan (IEP) team, and are based upon the student's unique needs. ECSE services generally fall within one of three categories: birth through two years of age, three to five years of age, and kindergarten services.
Birth through Age 2
Services for students under the age of three are typically delivered with a family-centered model. Instruction often occurs in the home with special education instructional staff, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists. Through these home visits staff can work directly with children and provide parents with strategies to facilitate child development. Center-based classes may also be available to families including toddler classes, parent-child classes, and speech groups assisting students with their individual needs.
Minnesota's Help Me Grow: Infant and Toddler Intervention services are provided for eligible children birth through two years of age who may be experiencing delays in their development for several reasons, including special health conditions. These services are designed to meet the unique developmental needs of each child and their family and are offered at no cost to families. To contact Help Me Grow with a referral or for information, please call 952-563-8900 (in Bloomington) or 866-693-GROW (state-wide). You may also go to their website at http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/fh/mcshn/ecip.htm.
Services for students aged three to six are typically delivered with a center-based approach. A variety of classes are offered to meet the needs of children with various developmental needs. Classes often include inclusion activities, which allows early childhood special education students the opportunity to learn and play with typically developing peers. Specialized services - such as speech therapy and occupational therapy - are provided within the classroom. Developmental Adapted Physical Education (DAPE) is part of each program.
For a referral for a student between the ages of three and six, please call the Early Childhood Special Education Department, located at Southwood Center, at (952) 806-8900.