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Early Childhood

Developmental Screenings & Assessments

CPS provides developmental screenings and assessments for children living within the boundaries of Chicago.

Child Find

The ODLSS Child Find Screening Team provides free early childhood developmental screenings for children birth to five.

Developmental screenings can indicate if a child is having difficulties with cognitive/academic, communication, social-emotional, and fine/gross motor skills. A hearing and vision screening is also available. Regional screenings are held monthly at several Chicago Public Libraries across the city. No appointment is necessary.

Note: The Child Find Screening Program will not be providing onsite screenings as previously indicated on the Child Find calendar. Remote developmental screenings will be available until further notice.

If you are interested in scheduling a remote developmental screening for your child (or have additional questions) please contact: CPS Child Find Coordinator at 773-251-4855 or email at: dmfuller-clark@cps.edu.

Early Intervention (EI) to Early Childhood Transition

A child who was eligible for Early Intervention (EI) services should be evaluated to determine eligibility for Early Childhood Special Education services through CPS prior to their third birthday.  ODLSS works collaboratively with Early Intervention Service Coordinators to schedule evaluations with the Citywide Assessment Team (CAT) as the child approaches their third birthday. If you have questions about your child’s transition and/or evaluation please contact: 773-553-1266 (Garfield Park), 773-535-8937 (Colman), earlychildhoodevals@cps.edu.

Citywide Assessment Team

Our citywide assessment team conducts high-quality assessments for any child living within the boundaries of the city of Chicago.

To ensure success in an academic setting, we use formal and informal assessments to ensure a thorough and holistic look at each student's strengths and needs. Evaluators may include a school psychologist, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapist, physical therapist, school social worker, nurse, teacher, and case manager.

The results of the evaluation are discussed with the parent/guardian along with next steps.

Citywide Assessment Team Resources

If you have questions about your child’s transition and/or evaluation please contact: 773-553-1266 (Garfield Park), 773-535-8937 (Colman), earlychildhoodevals@cps.edu.

Early Childhood Special Education Services and Programs

CPS provides early childhood specialized services to students three to five years of age based on the needs identified in their Individualized Education Program (IEP). The Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services works closely with the Office of Early Childhood Education to provide all students with access to high quality, individualized instruction.

The child’s IEP guides the type, scope, and assignment of services and supports the child receives from Chicago Public Schools in the Least Restrictive Environment.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

At CPS, the first placement option considered for students with disabilities is a Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), which is a regular education classroom that provides supplemental aids and services as needed. Special classes, separate schooling, or other placements that remove students from the regular education classroom occur only when specified by a student's Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Support and Program Models

Speech-Only Services

Students may apply and enroll in a preschool program by visiting www.chicagoearlylearning.org.

Non-attending students who wish to receive speech-only services may visit their local CPS school to learn more about receiving speech services.

Preschool Itinerant Services

This program is indicated for any preschool age student requiring support from an early childhood special education teacher in the general education classroom for up to 120 minutes weekly.  (This does not apply to a student receiving speech-only services.)  

Students receiving preschool itinerant services may apply and enroll in a preschool program by visiting www.chicagoearlylearning.org.

Preschool Inclusive/Blended Program

This program is indicated for any preschool age student requiring educational services from an early childhood special education teacher in the general education classroom for up to 500 minutes weekly.

Preschool Program with Intensive Support

This program is indicated for any preschool age student requiring educational services from an early childhood special education teacher in a separate classroom.

Map of Early Childhood Specialized Programs

ODLSS Early Childhood School Assignment

While all Chicago Public Schools serve the needs of students with disabilities, some programs are not available at every school and require an ODLSS school assignment. A student’s assignment to an ODLSS program on this Map is strictly based on the program’s ability to implement the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and least restrictive environment determined by the IEP team. When determining a school assignment, ODLSS follows federal and state regulations and considers: 1) the school closest to the child’s home; (2) available seats in a school that can provide the supports and services documented in the IEP; and (3) the school’s ability to implement the child’s IEP.

School Assignment FAQ

Parent Supports

STARNET

STARNET supports families with young children ages birth through eight years old with developmental delays and special needs.

For more information related to training and workshops please visit starnetchicago.org.

Related Links

Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services

773-553-1800

773-553-1801 (Fax)

odlss@cps.edu

42 W. Madison St.
Chicago, IL 60602

Have Questions?

Complete and submit this form to request assistance and support for your child regarding special education.

Join the Diverse Learner mailing list to stay informed.

For questions around special education services, please contact the ODLSS District Representative or Special Education Administrator assigned to your school, Parent Involvement Specialists are also available.

Contact Information

School Assignment Services
773-553-1847

Student Transportation
773-553-2860

Nursing Information
773-553-4589

SSCA Helpline
773-553-1843