The North Service Unit, in consortium with the five local school districts, operates the Infant-Toddler Program, which provides special education services to children from birth through age two who have significant delays in development and/or handicapping conditions. Students are referred through a variety of sources, including parents, physicians, the Muskegon County Health Department and local hospitals. Following a referral, each child is assessed by staff from both the NSU Infant-Toddler Program and Muskegon County Early On to determine if a special education evaluation is warranted. Results from a special education evaluation determine eligibility for services.
An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is developed for each eligible child and family to identify individualized supports and services to enhance the child's development. This IFSP plan is a dynamic planning tool that will be reviewed a minimum of every six months. In addition, the staff of the Infant-Toddler Program assists children and families with the transition to preschool at age 3. Families have the opportunity to discuss options for programs and service with staff as well as visit and observe potential preschool options.
EARLY CHILDHOOD SPECIAL EDUCATION (ECSE)
Early Childhood Special Education programs are available to preschool students who exhibit developmental disabilities requiring more support than specialized therapy alone can provide. Our ECSE classrooms serve children ages 3-6 with a variety of disabilities and needs in domains such as cognition, language and communication, physical-motor skills, and social-emotional regulation. The classroom is designed for up to 12 students, who are taught by an early childhood special education teacher and a paraprofessional. All children in the ECSE program have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) with learning goals and objectives based on needs identified through formal testing and ongoing data collection. The goals and objectives are guides to help the staff help the child acquire skills that other children of their age already have learned. In addition, the curriculum and activities in the ECSE classroom are aligned with the State of Michigan's Early Childhood Standards of Quality for Pre-Kindergarten.
Our ECSE classrooms provide safe and nurturing learning environments where children have the opportunities to exercise all developmental domains through play, discovery, problem-solving and the unique experiences facilitated by our dedicated teachers and staff. Many of the children receive related services such as speech/language, occupational, and/or physical therapy. Parent education is also a part of the program and is facilitated through monthly "family day" events.
For more information about the preschool programs available or to have your child screened, please call Kim Burmeister at 719-3142.