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Programs for Young Children with Special Needs

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As a parent or guardian, you have an essential role to play as your child’s first teacher. And, as a parent or guardian of a young child with special needs, you are also an important advocate for your child’s education. We are your partner as you and your family start on this journey of learning and growth with your child.

City Schools offers special education programs and services for young children with Individualized Education Programs (IEP). There are many options, with programs designed for children with a range of developmental, language, behavioral, or medical requirements.

You can learn all about the programs to find the one that best meets your child's needs by downloading this brochure (also available in Spanish) or scrolling down.

For students with and without IEPs:

Let’s Grow Half-Day

Children with and without IEPs work together, learning in a language-rich environment with teaching strategies designed to help them meet developmental milestones. The curriculum focuses on social skills and developmentally appropriate skills of concentration, coordination, and independence. 

For: 3- and 4-year-olds (who are too young for pre-k)
When: 2.5 hours, 5 days per week
Where: For the 2019-20 school year, this program is offered at the following schools. Space is limited. If your child does not have an IEP and you're interested in enrolling, please contact the school you're interested in.

  • Armistead Gardens Elementary School: 5001 East Eager St.,410-396-9090
  • Callaway Elementary/Middle School: 3701 Fernhill Ave., 410-396-0604
  • Cecil Elementary School: 2000 Cecil Ave., 410-396-6385
  • Dorothy I. Height Elementary School: 2011 Linden Ave., 410-396-0837
  • Federal Hill Preparatory Academy: 1040 William St., 410-396-1207
  • James Mosher Elementary School: 2400 W Mosher St., 410-396-0506
  • Lakewood Elementary School: 2625 Federal St., 410-396-9158

These schools offer the same program independently. Contact the school for more information:

For students with IEPs:

Itinerant Services

Parents bring their child to their neighborhood school to receive services such as speech and language therapy.

For: 3- and 4-year-olds

Services at Head Start

Children who attend Head Start can receive services at their program sites.

For: 3- to 5-year-olds

Services in Pre-k or Kindergarten

City Schools’ students in general education pre-k or kindergarten programs receive special instruction or related services during the school day. IEP goals and objectives become part of daily classroom routines and instruction. Services are provided in or outside the regular classroom, in accordance with each child’s IEP. General educators can receive support with IEP implementation through the Collaborative Consultation Model. 

For: Pre-k and kindergarten students

When: Full day, 5 days a week

Citywide Preschool Special Education Programs

Partners Program

This program offers a full-inclusion setting for pre-k and kindergarten children with disabilities who show emerging social, communication, and academic skills. Students participate in a general education classroom for most of the day and receive additional support for part of the day through a special education co-teaching model. Children with and without IEPs receive grade-appropriate instruction in a highly structured, routines-based classroom that uses visual and sensory supports.

For: Pre-k and kindergarten students
When: Full day, 5 days per week

Let’s Grow Full-Day

Children with IEPs work in small group settings outside of the general education setting for approximately half of the school day. Children join a general education class for the other half of the day, where they work with their peers to develop social skills while learning academic content. 

For: Pre-k and kindergarten students 
When: Full day, 5 days per week

Early Learning Environment (ELE)

Children with developmental delays who need more intensive specialized instruction learn in a separate classroom for most of the day. It is a highly structured, routines-based classroom that uses a multisensory approach to learning and gives children many opportunities to practice new skills. 

For: 3- and 4-year-olds (who are too young for pre-k)
When: 2.5 hours, 5 days per week
For: Pre-k and kindergarten students
When: Full day, 5 days per week

Early Therapeutic Environment (ETE)

This program offers a small, separate class for children whose social, emotional, or behavioral needs cannot be met in the general education setting.  Instructional strategies within the grade-appropriate curriculum include specialized classwide behavior management, clear and consistent rules and routines,
positive behavior supports, crisis intervention, and therapeutic support from full-time behavioral specialists. 

For: Pre-k and kindergarten students
When: Full day, 5 days per week

Early Learning Environment–Auditory/Oral

This full-day program provides a language-rich environment, where children experience an academic curriculum while concentrating on communication and
thinking skills. Teachers are specialists in working with hearing-impaired children and make use of ear-level frequency modulation (FM) systems that help students develop speech, language, and auditory skills. 

For: 3- and 4-year-olds and pre-k and kindergarten students with hearing aids/cochlear implants
When: Full day, 5 days per week

Child Find

The first steps in ensuring that the right services are provided are to confirm the nature of a child's special needs and to develop a program that will provide the necessary support. 

If you think your child or a child you know may have a disability related to vision, hearing, health, or behavior, call Child Find at 443-984-1011. You can also complete this form, along with relevant documents. Please note that we cannot accept faxed forms at this time.

This program can arrange for evaluation and help in getting services to support areas including

  • Fine or gross motor development and skills
  • Speech/language development and skills
  • Cognitive or learning functions
  • Social and emotional development and skills
  • Adaptive or self-help skills

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