You are here


Do you have a 3, 4, or 5-year-old who is struggling to learn?

Special education services may be available for your 3-, 4-, or 5-year-old through your local school district. There is a range of conditions that could potentially impact a child's learning ability including, speech/language impairment, cognitive impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorder, emotional impairment, traumatic brain injury, hearing or visual impairment, Early Childhood Developmental Delay or a specific learning disability. Intervening early can in many cases resolve, or at least limit, a child's roadblock to learning. 

What Are Preschool Services and Where Are They Located?  

Michigan Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) services include special instruction and related services provided to young children, ages 3 through 5, who qualify under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA, Part B, Section 619). Through its 56 Intermediate School Districts (ISDs), Michigan's ECSE program offers a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to all eligible children at no cost to their families, and in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). LRE means that young children with disabilities should get services in community-based preschool settings and programs whenever possible.

Who Is Eligible? 

Children ages 3 through 5 with a disability defined by one of the following categories are eligible for special education services: 

  • Speech/Language Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Cognitive Impairment
  • Autism Spectrum Disorder 
  • Emotional Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Visual Impairment
  • Physical Impairment
  • Early Childhood Developmental Delay (ECDD)
  • Severe Multiple Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment (including attention deficit disorder and health problems such as asthma, epilepsy, and diabetes) 

Read more about the eligibility categories from the Michigan Alliance for Families. 

Additional Resources

What is the Special Education Process 

Family Matters provides easy to read documents about special education laws and practices.  Documents below explain the special education process in Michigan.  

Special Education Process Fact Sheet - English

Special Education Process Fact Sheet - Arabic

Special Education Process - Spanish