The legal context

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires states to provide early intervention services to eligible infants and toddlers up until their third birthday. 

Parents can request an evaluation from their state’s early intervention program. In Indiana, First Steps — a program under the auspices of the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services — provides early intervention services to infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities. The state provides a service coordinator who works with families through the evaluation process. If a child is identified as having a disability or developmental delay that qualifies them for early intervention services, a service coordinator works with their family to establish an Individualized Family Services Plan, which specifies what will be provided to the child. 

Children age out of these services on their third birthday. At that point, it's the responsibility of their public school or charter school to provide a free, appropriate public education to students who are identified as having a disability and between the ages of 3 and 22. 

But disabilities are not always identified before a child reaches the age of 3. IDEA also states that public education agencies have a duty under law to identify and evaluate all students between 3 and 22 years old who are suspected of having a disability that would make them eligible for special education services — regardless of the severity of that disability.

Click on the below image to learn about a family's experience on this issue

 Elissa and Kyriakos