BD19588_[1].gifJoanne Manwaring, Supervisor, 744-8941 Ext. 291

           Prekindergarten Exceptional Education

Services for prekindergarten for children with developmental delays and disabilities are authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Children ages three to five who meet eligibility requirements can receive services designed to meet each child's individual needs. Developmentally appropriate learning experiences provide opportunities for individual growth and assistance with areas of special need.

Our Goal

The goal of the Prekindergarten Exceptional Education Program is to offer early intervention to improve each child's level of functioning and enhance successful entry into Kindergarten, with appropriate supports based on individual need.


A child with a disability who is age three to five may be eligible under one or more of the following categories:

Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Developmentally Delayed
Dual Sensory Impaired
Emotional/Behavioral Disabilities
Intellectual Disabilities
Orthopedic Impairment
Other Health Impaired
Specific Learning Disabilities
Speech and Language
Traumatic Brain Injury
Visually Impaired

Additionally, Physical and Occupational Therapy are available to children who require these services within the educational environment.

Prekindergarten Exceptional Education services are provided at no cost to the parent.

Education Services

Special instructional services are provided for approximately 3,000 children ages three to five with developmental delays or disabilities. For many children, part-time, specially designed instruction is provided at the child's community preschool in locations throughout the county. Additionally, developmentally appropriate classrooms designed to meet the needs of young children are located in 93 elementary schools and three exceptional centers. Teaching staff include a certified teacher and a paraprofessional. The educational environment offers many opportunities for active learning experiences in key developmental areas which include language, fine and gross motor, socialization, self-help, and readiness skills. Intervention for individual special needs is interwoven into the curriculum as appropriate for each child.

The Early Exceptional Learning Program (EELP) is the most common classroom model serving prekindergarten children with special needs. The EELP classes are designed for children with varied abilities and disabilities.Other types of prekindergarten classes and services offer specialized instruction to children based on their individual needs.

Parental Involvement

Parent involvement is an integral part of this program and begins at the point of referral, through screening and assessment, and continues at the school level. Parents are invited and encouraged to participate in the development of their child's Individual Education Plan (IEP). Additionally, Parent Liaisons are available to assist parents with transition, IEPs, or other needs on an individual basis.

Referral Process

When parents have concerns about their child's development, they may contact Child Find at (813) 837-7777 to make a referral. Child Find is part of the Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS) which is a department within Hillsborough County Public Schools. Child Find staff will assist parents in arranging for a developmental screening and/or assessment for the child to determine if services are required.

Developmental Screening Schedules are available in English and Spanish.