CDSA Transition to Preschool

  • CDSA - Exceptional Children's Services (Ages 3-5)


    My child currently receives Early Intervention Services through the CDSA. What happens as my child gets closer to 3 years, 0 months?

    If my child currently receives services through the CDSA, and I want my child to be evaluated for special education services through the school system, what do I do?

      • Between your child's age of 2 years, 6 months, and 2 years, 9 months, your child's CDSA Case Worker will discuss special education services for children with disabilities ages 3-5 offered by the school district. If the parent expresses interest in following through with the referral for special education services process, a meeting is scheduled.
        • The parent should note there is a significant difference between how a child's unique needs are addressed by CDSA (which falls under a developmental model of services) and by a school district (which falls under an educational model of services).
        • A student eligible for special education services needs to have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) in place by their third birthday.


    • School System Meeting #1: A Transition Planning Conference will occur at Thompson Early Childhood Center, including parents, CDSA representatives, and school-district representatives. At this meeting, the following will be reviewed: current assessment information, the strengths of the child, and the IFSP. Meeting #2 may be scheduled at this time if all required enrollment documentation is processed.


    • School System Meeting #2 (if needed): A referral for special education services will occur through an IEP meeting at Thompson Early Childhood Center, including parents and school-district representatives, once all required enrollment documentation is processed. At this meeting, the child’s strengths and weaknesses will be reviewed. Based upon information gathered and reviewed, the IEP team may request permission from the parent to obtain new testing information relative to whether or not the child has a disability (eligibility criteria as indicated per the special education department in North Carolina) requiring special education services through the school system.


    • Attendance at scheduled testing (to be determined): Based upon the testing decisions made by the IEP team at meeting #2, your child may be scheduled for testing with any of the following professionals: School Psychologist, Speech and Language Therapist, Occupational Therapist, and/or Physical Therapist. Additional information may be gathered as well, to include (but not limited to) information from medical providers, classroom observations, or additional testing information as needed from other professionals relative to the suspected area of disability. All testing and/or information to be gathered require parent permission.


    • Meeting #3: Once all testing and/or information is gathered, another IEP meeting will be scheduled to discuss the results of all testing. At this meeting:
      • Parents will be provided with reports regarding all recent testing. Reports will be discussed with parents.
      • Once evaluation information is discussed, the IEP team will discuss the child’s eligibility for special education services based upon the 14 areas of eligibility under which children are able to receive special education services in North Carolina.
      • If your child meets the criteria for one of the 14 areas of disability, the team will discuss and determine if a negative impact is noted within a learning environment.
      • If a negative impact is noted, the team will then discuss if the negative impact is significant enough to require special education services.
      • If special education services are required, the team will ask the parent for consent to provide special education services.
      • If the parent provides consent for special education services, the IEP team will develop an IEP to address the child's unique needs.


    If my child is eligible for special education services, what could those services look like through Onslow County Schools?

    • As the IEP team develops an IEP, the team will develop goals that they have determined the child can accomplish over the course of the next calendar year. 
    • Once the IEP goals are created, the IEP team will determine how much time is needed with special education personnel to obtain goals made.  
    • Once the amount of time with special education personnel is determined, the IEP team will discuss the environment in which they believe the child will have the greatest success in meeting their goal.  
    • Special education services are offered in a variety of ways and in a variety of environments. Children's unique needs are served in their least restrictive environment. 
    • Service implementation could look like, but is not limited to:  walk-in services, services provided through a playgroup setting, or services within a home, daycare, or preschool setting.


    I am interested in my child attending preschool. How can my child attend preschool five days a week through the Onslow County Schools Preschool Program?

    • Children who qualify and are found eligible for Head Start or Title I may attend preschool 5 full days a week. Application information as well as required documents for these programs can be seen at
    • or can be obtained in person at Thompson Early Childhood Center. Once the application is completed and required information is provided, the parent will have the application reviewed and will answer additional questions in person at Thompson Early Childhood Center. Please call 910-346-6222 for more information regarding how to apply for these programs.
    • Head Start promotes the school readiness of young children from low-income families through agencies in their local community. Head Start programs support the comprehensive development of children from birth to age 5.
    • Title I is a federally-funded program for 4-year-old children, who, based upon assessment information, are at-risk of failing to meet North Carolina's academic achievement standards as determined by various educationally-related materials.