Transition to Preschool

By Valerie Walker

The transitions between early intervention and preschool services, and later preschool and kindergarten, are emotional for all parents as they watch their little ones grow. Add a disability such as hearing loss, and these emotions are magnified. Issues associated with the disability intertwined with the responsibility of making the right choices for their childrens' future often results in a time of uncertainty that is exacerbated by an education process that can seem unwelcoming.
("Supporting Families in Transition between Early Intervention and School Age Programs" by Cheryl Johnson, Colorado director of special education)

1. The first and perhaps most important step in making the transition is educating yourself about your child's specific needs and the services or programs available to meet those unique needs. Having some familiarity should help families in the IFSP/IEP transition meeting. Here are a few great places to start:

2. Visit preschool programs and envision your child participating in the program. Try to envision what it would look like with your child in the environment. How would your child interact? What if any accommodations need to be made? Is there access to other students or adults using the same communication mode? Two checklists exist to help in this area:

3. Find parent support and collaboration. Parents who are heading into this transition period can benefit immensely from knowledge gained by parents who have already been through it. There is an article on preschool from a parents perspective at the link listed below.

4. Parent involvement is crucial to the success of any program. Once your child enters into a program, visit with teachers frequently. Staying involved will help assure that the program is meeting your childs' needs. There are assessments available to assure the program is meeting individual needs.

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