The Marin County Office of Education (MCOE) offers a variety of learning experiences for preschool-aged children who require special education services. Children who are 3 to 5-years-old and not yet age-eligible to attend kindergarten, can receive instruction geared to their individual needs. Special day classes, small group instruction, specialized services for young children on the autism spectrum, programs that build mobility skills and remedial speech and language instruction are among the many services available. Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are developed for each student by a team that includes the child’s parents or caregivers, private school teacher if applicable, and the MCOE teachers, specialists, and administrators who will be working with the child.
The Early Intervention Program offers a variety of service delivery models, including:
- Non-Intensive Services: provides small group instruction one to two times per week to address speech and language delays. Services are provided by licensed and/or credentialed speech and language therapists at several locations in Marin County.
- Non-Intensive-Plus Services: provides small group instruction two or more times per week for students who have more than one area of developmental delay. Based on assessed student needs, services are provided by credentialed Early Childhood special education teachers, licensed and/or credentialed speech and language therapists, occupational therapists, and vision or hearing specialists. Services are located in both southern and central Marin County.
- Special Day Classes (SDC): students receive services 4 to 5 days per week due to significant delays in one or more areas of development. Students attending these classes have access to specialized instruction and activities due to significant language impairments, intellectual disabilities, or autism. The MCOE operates Special Day Class programs for students with severe and non-severe disabilities, as well as those with autism.
- Non-Severe SDC: These classes are comprised of approximately 8-10 students who attend school 4-5 days per week, 2.5 hours per day. Students placed in this program tend to have needs in the area of speech and language but may also exhibit delays in physical, social, and adaptive behaviors. Age-appropriate instruction is provided by one credentialed teacher with the assistance of one paraeducator, utilizing the California Preschool Learning Foundations and thematic instructional units that are rich with both language and printed text. Speech and language therapy as well as occupational therapy services are integrated into the program.
- Severely Disabled SDC: These classes are comprised of approximately 8-10 students who attend school 5 days per week, four hours per day. Students placed in this program all have global developmental delays and require direct instruction in all areas, which is provided by one credentialed teacher with the assistance of two paraeducators. Students frequently have physical and medical challenges which require the addition of specialized health care or nurse services. Speech and language therapy as well as occupational therapy services are integrated into the program.
- Autistic SDC: These classes are comprised of approximately 6-8 students who attend school 5 days per week, 4 hours per day. Although it is not required, most students in these classes are eligible for special education services due to autism. These students typically have needs in the area of language, sensory regulation, and social relationships, which are addressed by one credentialed teacher with the assistance of two classroom paraeducators. Teachers utilize a variety of structured teaching approaches and methodologies, depending on student needs. These may include Discrete Trial Training (DTT) or repeated discrete trials for skill mastery, TEAACH or using visual cues to teach skills, Picture Exchange System (PECS) or augmentive communication systems, Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (SCERTS Model), or Links to Language, a highly structured and sequenced program for children functioning at a preverbal level. Speech and language therapy as well as occupational therapy and psychological/behavioral services are integrated into the program.
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