Child Find

Early Childhood Special Education for Ages 3 through 5

Early Childhood Special Education addresses individual needs within the context of developmentally appropriate early learning experiences including early literacy, math, play, and social areas.  Preschool special education is a state and federally mandated program for children ages three through five who are experiencing challenges in their learning and development and meet eligibility criteria for special education and related services.

Every school district provides special education services to young children.  Over 13,000 children in Tennessee receive individualized special education services each year as a part of IDEA 619 Preschool.

-Eligibility for children is determined by criteria that have been established by  federal and state rules and regulations.

-Eligible children are entitled to a free and appropriate public education in the  least restrictive environment.

-Each child with a disability has an Individualized Education Program, or IEP.    Parents, teachers, therapists,  and school administrators make up the IEP team  and collaborate to write the IEP.  The IEP lists the individual goals for the child  and the services the child receives.

-A young child who is determined eligible for special education receives  services in the least restrictive environment; children should be educated with  non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate.  This may include a  public school, Head Start, a community based child care setting, or the home as  determined by the child's IEP team.

-Special Education is not a place but a system of services and supports for  children with disabilities.

What is Child Find?

"Child Find" is the process of locating, Identifying, and evaluating children with disabilities to ensure that they receive services to which they are entitled.  Children who are suspected of having a disability can be referred for a possible evaluation at no cost to determine if they are eligible for special education services.  Referrals of children with a suspected delay or disability can be made to:

Alex Smith
Program Facilitator
(865)-463-2800 Ext. 2821


Brittany Bradley
Special Ed Administrative Specialist
(865)-463-2800 Ext. 2863