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Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE)

Early Childhood



Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) is a state and federally mandated program for young children with disabilities ages 3-5. Eligible children with disabilities, ages 3-5, are entitled to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Part B, Section 619 in the least restrictive environment (LRE) in accordance with their individual needs. Children who meet eligibility criteria may receive Early Childhood Special Education services in a variety of settings such as a pre-kindergarten classroom, in the home, or in community settings such as Head Start and pre-school. 

In Texas, services for eligible children with disabilities ages 3-5 are provided free of charge through the public-school system. Over 40,000 children in Texas receive individual special education services each year as a part of IDEA 619 Preschool.  


  • TheEarly Childhood Technical Assistance Center (CLICK) supports the implementation of the early childhood provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The center's mission is to strengthen service systems to ensure that children with disabilities (birth through five) and their families receive and benefit from high quality, culturally appropriate, and family-centered supports and services.  
  • The Division for Early Childhood (DEC) (CLICK) promotes policies and advances evidence-based practices that support families and enhance the optimal development of young children (0-8) who have or are at risk for developmental delays and disabilities.  

Inclusion in Texas

Inclusion in Texas (CLICK)

Region 9 Assistive Technology (CLICK)


Early Childhood Image


SPP Indicator 6 – Least Restrictive Environment


SPP Indicator 7 – Preschool Outcomes

State Performance Plan Indicator (SPPI) 7 measures the percent of preschool children aged 3 through 5 with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) who demonstrate improved:    

  • Positive social-emotional skills (including social relationships); 
  • Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills (including early language/communication and early literacy); and 
  • Use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs.

       Data Collection 


SPP Indicator 12 – Early Childhood Transition

State Performance Plan (SPP) Indicator 12 measures the percentage of students referred by Part C/Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) prior to age 3 who are found eligible for Part B/District Special Education Services and who have an IEP (Individualized Education Program) developed and implemented by their third birthday.

      Data Collection