Preschool Disabilities Program

  • Exceptional Student Education (ESE) Prekindergarten (Pre-K) services are provided to children from 3-5 years of age who meet the criteria for any of the following disabilities as defined by the Florida Department of Education and in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):  Developmental Delay, Language Impairment, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Deaf or Hard of Hearing, Dual-Sensory Impairment, Intellectual Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, Speech Impairment, Visual Impairment.

    Screening, Referral, Evaluation
    The Florida Diagnostic and Learning Resources System (FDLRS), in coordination with the school district, locate children who are potentially eligible for services under the IDEA and link them with needed services.  FDLRS Child Find serves as Collier’s point of contact for parents of children who are not already enrolled in school.  Free developmental screenings, of children who are suspected of having a delay or disability, are conducted by the FDLRS Child Find Specialist at Golden Gate Elementary in Naples, and Village Oaks Elementary in Immokalee.

    If a need is identified through the screening process, the FDLRS Child Find Specialist will make a referral to the school district’s Pre-K Assessment Team for an initial evaluation to define and analyze problem areas/ needs.  School district evaluators and parents will observe/assess five areas of development: adaptive, personal-social, communication, motor and cognition, and will determine if the child meets criteria and is in need of special education services.  The Pre-K Assessment Team conducts evaluations at Golden Gate Elementary in Naples and Highlands Elementary in Immokalee. 

    For a child suspected of having a delay or disability, who is already enrolled in a school district Basic Pre-K Program, the point of contact is the student’s Head Start or VPK teacher. 

    Children with disabilities who meet the criteria of one or more categories of disability specified in law and who need special education services must have an individual educational plan (IEP). The individual educational plan (IEP) is the primary vehicle for communicating the school district’s commitment to addressing the unique educational needs of a child with a disability. Parents are important partners in the IEP process and will be invited to eligibility staffing and IEP meetings.

    Our Prekindergarten children with disabilities participate in a variety of educational activities depending upon the identified needs of the child, as documented on the IEP. Eligible children enrolled in Collier County Public Schools, and only in need of speech and/or language services, will receive therapy at their zone elementary school.  Eligible children in need of specialized instruction will be assigned to receive special education services in one of our elementary school locations.  School assignment is based on a child’s residence zone school and availability of services.  Curb-to-curb bus transportation is available to children with disabilities participating in Collier’s school programs.

    Preschool learning materials create engaging, fun learning experiences with a balance between child-directed and teacher-directed activities.  Prekindergarten children are active learners.  They discover their world by direct experiences.  Within our classrooms, the children are provided with opportunities to:
     manipulate materials; choose activities; acquire skills with tools and equipment; solve problems; use small and large muscles; learn in small and large groups; and develop self-care skills within a carefully planned daily routine. 

    How to Access
    If your child does not have an IEP and you suspect that he/she may have a disability, call FDLRS Child Find to request a free developmental screening.  To schedule a screening, call (239)-337-8199.

    If your child has an IEP and is not enrolled in a Collier County Public School, register using  the Online Centralized Registration system and then go to the school district’s Office of Student Relations to complete the registration.

    District Contact
    Dr. Elizabeth McBride , Director of Early Learning
    (239) 377-0123



    Information & Resources

    Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten Programs    377-0590

    Headstart Pre-Kindergarten     377-0590 

    Florida Diagnostic & Learning Resources System Child Find:     (239)-337-8199 

    What is Child Find? Vidoes for Parents

    Collier Pre-K Assessment Team:  (239) 377-8899

    Elementary School Sites with Pre-K Special Classes:  Big Cypress, CalusaPark, Corkscrew, Golden Terrace, Highlands, Lely, Manatee, Naples Park, Pelican Marsh, Poinciana,  and Vineyards in Naples; Lake Trafford and Village Oaks in Immokalee

    Elementary School Sites with Pre-K Inclusion Classes:  Avalon, Calusa Park, Corkscrew, Golden Gate, Golden Terrace, Highlands, Lely, Manatee, Naples Park, Parkside, Poinciana, Sabal Palm, Shadowlawn and Vineyards in Naples; Eden Park, Lake Trafford and Village Oaks in Immokalee