Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) is the name for early childhood special education services provided to children with disabilities ages 3 up to 6 years old by their local school district In Vermont.  These services are mandated by federal and state law.  ‘Child Find’ requires school districts to locate and identify children who may be suspected of having a developmental delay or disability.  If the child is found eligible, he or she may receive services from their local school district.  ECSE services are individualized to meet each child’s educational needs.

ECSE services are provided to children in a variety of ways and across a variety of settings. This may include providing services in some or all of these settings:

  • public early childhood (Pre-K) classrooms,
  • community-based early childhood programs,
  • other separate settings,
  • the family’s home

ECSE staff work with families and their professional team to plan and coordinate services, and to provide documentation as required by law.

ECSE staff may include:

  • Teachers with Agency of Education educator licensure, with an endorsement in early childhood special education (commonly known as a ‘ECSE teacher’)
  • Specialists such as occupational and physical therapists, mental health practitioners, speech and language pathologists, psychologists, and others with special knowledge and skills in working with young children
  • Paraprofessionals who work with a classroom or an individual child.  Their education often includes college coursework, an Associate Degree in related field or a Bachelor Degree.
  • Other public school staff such as principals, guidance counselors and consultants may also work with the ECSE team.