Under the federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA, children with disabilities, birth through 21, are offered the right to access early intervention and special education services. Part C of IDEA addresses early intervention services, which are services and supports made available to infants and toddlers with disabilities from birth to age three. Early intervention services for infants and toddlers are provided within a natural environment for the child and services are family centered. Part B of IDEA relates to services for children with disabilities who are ages three through twenty-one. Beginning at age three, children who are eligible for special education services have the option to transition to Part B special education programs which are usually provided in a public school, Head Start center, or inclusive community early care and education center.
IDEA Part C services are managed by the OSSE Division of Special Education, Early Intervention.
Early Stages is a District of Columbia Public Schools initiative for children ages three through five years old. Early Stages is there to help families identify any delays children may have and provide appropriate services to help address those delays.