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Early Childhood Special Education

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Program Overview

General Information

It is the policy of the State of Missouri that all children with disabilities, residing in the state are identified, located, and evaluated.  School districts and other public agencies responsible for providing special education must offer a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to children who have been identified as eligible under the eligibility criteria outlined in the Missouri State Plan for Special Education as early as a child's third birthdate.  Special Education and related services for pre-school age is referred to as early childhood special education (ECSE).

Parents of children who are three-to-five years old or approaching age three who suspect their child may have a developmental delay or disabling condition that may affect them educationally, may contact their local school district to make a referral for evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services.

ECSE services are supported by Federal funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as well as state general revenue funds.​ There is no cost to parents of ECSE children for services identified in a child's Individualized Education Program (IEP).

For more information about ECSE:

  • Contact the Special Education Administrator for the school district in which you live or,
  • the Office of Special Education at:

The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
Division of Special Education
PO Box 480
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0480