About the Work Group on Autism Research and Training

School Age Services


Services for ages three to five years can be provided by your local school district through Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) services. Each district determines how these services are delivered. Some districts provide support and therapies at the community preschool yoru child may attend. Some districts provide services at a school-based preschool program. Some use a combination of both. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will replace the IFSP. The IEP will outline the services your child will receive. A transition meeting with you, your child's infant-toddler team, and the school district team will help with your child's transition to school-based services.

If you child has not received any services prior to age three contact your local school district's special education office or call your neighborhood school to let them know that you would like your child screened for services.

Public school services are provided at no cost to the family and it is law that children are identified who need special education services starting at age three

At five years of age in most school districts, children enter kindergarten. The IEP (Individual Education Plan) will be developed, updated and/or revised as needed. Thereafter, the IEP will be updated annually. Every 3 years your child will be re-evaluated by the school to determine eligibility for continued Special Education services. Best practice indicates that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders learn most effectively when taught with a combination of one-on-one and inclusion with typically developing peers. “The presence of peers allows children to imitate and practice more advanced play behaviors.” (Wolfberg & Schuler)

If you do not choose to use your local school district services, there are a variety of private providers who offer a range of services, from helping your child with a specific challenge such as social skills or behaviors to setting up extensive home therapy systems.

Beginning at 14 years of age a statement of transition service needs should be included as part of the student’s IEP. This statement should address what the student hopes to learn and/or accomplish before he/she exits school. At 16 years of age a statement of needed transition services must be written and included in the student’s IEP. This plan will determine what actions the student, parent, school district, and outside agencies should accomplish before the student exits school.

Age 18—21 years programs are offered in all school districts for those students who are receiving special education services and their school team has determined they would benefit from this type of program. Typically the focus of the 18—21 program is to develop job skills, increase independent living skills, and learn how to access community supports and activities. The IEP should reflect the student’s needs at this time in preparation for living and working in the community. It is important that the IEP team develop transition goals that connects the student to:

  • Government supports such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicaid and the CDDO if needed
  • Post-secondary education opportunities
  • Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for employment and training
  • Register to vote and get a state ID if the student does not have a driver’s license

Other Services

When your child enters kindergarten, the IEP team will include a regular education teacher as well as the therapists and specialists. To help you understand how the educational process works and your rights, you can contact your local parent information and training organization in your state:

Kansas: Families Together 1-800-264-6343 www.familiestogetherinc.org
Disability Rights Center 1-877-776-1541 www.drckansas.org

Missouri: MPACT (Missouri Parents Act) 1-800-743-7634 www.ptimpact.com


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