Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)


Laurie Hume
ECSE Assistant Director

Joan Kritsas
ECSE Administrative Assistant

Early Childhood Special Education Services are provided to children, ages birth to 6, who meet one or more criteria established by the Minnesota Department of Education. Children are identified through a multi-disciplinary evaluation process. Areas of evaluation include developmental delay, speech/language impairment, autism spectrum disorder, developmental cognitive disabilities, emotional or behavioral disorder, physical impairment, hearing impairment, visual impairment, and delays resulting from traumatic brain injuries or other health disabilities.

To qualify for service, children must demonstrate a substantial delay in development or have a diagnosed physical or mental condition or disorder that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay. A comprehensive evaluation determines whether children meet state entrance eligibility. 

Early Intervention Services for children ages birth to 3 are provided in natural environments including home and childcare settings. Parents and caregivers are important partners in early intervention services.

Services for ages 3-5 are provided in a variety of settings including community-based preschool programs, Early Childhood Special Education classrooms, and individual or small group therapy. You can begin by making an Early Childhood Screening appointment at left (if your child has not already been screened in ISD 197 or another district).

The goal of the School District 197 Early Childhood Special Education Program is to promote success and help children achieve their potential. Acknowledging the uniqueness of each child and family, the Early Childhood Special Education Programs of District 197 strive to support, nurture, and work in partnership with young children with disabilities or delays and their families. Together, we work to develop individual education plans to provide specialized interventions that build foundational skills through a variety of developmentally based activities.