Information about IEPs and Disabilities

Skills such as smiling at a familiar face, babbling, and throwing a ball show that your child is developing on track. Although kids develop skills at different times, there are some expected age ranges for reaching these goals. If you are concerned about your child’s development, there are a wide range of agencies that can answer your questions and provide your child with the early intervention support that they need.

These documents below outline the Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education systems and the initial eligibility process for Early Childhood Special Education Services for children age three and older. Click on the thumbnails to view them fully in a new tab. They are from the Illinois State Board of Education’s “Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois.”

Early intervention is a term used to describe the services and supports that are available to babies and young children with developmental delays and disabilities and their families. It includes speech therapy, physical therapy and other types of services based on the needs of the child and family. The earlier you, your doctor, and your child care provider can identify the need for early intervention, the sooner your child can begin to address, and overcome, challenges and barriers to learning. Regular developmental screenings can help identify the need for early intervention.  See our Supporting My Child’s Development page for more information on the importance of developmental screening. Early intervention is the term used to describe services and support for children under age three.

If your child is under the age of three, and you have concerns after speaking to your child’s doctor, you may wish to contact your local Child and Family Connections (CFC) office directly. They can help determine if your child is eligible for early intervention services, and help you get those services.

Child and Family Connections (CFC) #7
West Suburban Cook County
Suburban Access, Inc
Early Intervention
1 Westbrook Corporate Center, Suite 640
Westchester, IL 60154
Phone: 708-449-0625 or 888-566-8228

Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a legal document that highlights a child’s strengths and challenges, and lays out a program of services, accommodations, and supports tailored to meet that child’s needs. An IEP is for people aged 3-21 years of age. In order for kids to receive special education services, they need an IEP. There’s a lot more to IEPs. Read more about the importance of IEPs and their purpose. If you think your child may have a disability and requires tailored support in the classroom, the first thing you will need to do is schedule a developmental screening with your local school district. Learn more below.

If your child is three years or older, contact your local school district’s department of special education or student services. School districts in Forest Park, Oak Park, and River Forest provide screening to children over age three in the areas of communication, social/emotional development, cognition, motor skills, hearing, and vision a regular basis, in compliance with federal law. Further evaluations are completed for children as determined by screening results.

All three local school districts house early childhood programs for eligible children, age three and up, in at least one of their elementary schools. You can find that contact information in the “Local School Districts Student Services and Special Education Offices” tab of the “Resources for Children with Disabilities” page.

For more general developmental information about child development, visiting our “Supporting My Child’s Development” page or check out our guide for parents called “Watch and Help Me Grow” that provides a timeline of when children generally learn new skills like crawling or talking.

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We champion high-quality early childhood care and learning experiences and support for families so all children develop their full potential.