To put a greater focus on early intervention for special education students, the District of Columbia school district has recently opened a free diagnostic testing center for children with developmental delays.
The Early Stages Center will evaluate children ages 3 to 5 for developmental delays and identify services that will help them when they enter school.
“The Early Stages Center is a significant investment in children with special education needs, and an investment in our education system as a whole,” Mayor Adrian M. Fenty said in a statement. “The center demonstrates monumental progress for special education in the district by making sure early intervention is an integral part of public education.”
The center is located at Walker Jones Education Campus, which includes a preschool-grade 8 school, a public library, and a technology center. Before the center’s opening, DCPS only offered smaller-scale screenings for developmental delays to provide services by multiple specialists, according to a news release about the program. The new center will offer expanded outreach and individualized case management.
“The impact of early intervention on student growth is just one of the reasons the Early Stages Center is so vital to DCPS,” Chancellor Michelle Rhee said in a statement. “We finally have the structures in place to make the strongest impact on children’s future educational success.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.