The public school system in California has an important role in providing services to children with developmental disabilities. In recent years, the California State Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and the California Department of Education (CDE) have become strong partners in providing early intervention services to children 0 – 3 years old and special education services to children 3 to 21 years old. Children with special needs who were served by California’s Early Start Program are able to enter public school programs as preschoolers if they satisfy the eligibility criteria as a child who can benefit from special education services. Local education agencies provide special education and related services to children with disabilities in environments including the home, school, public or private preschools or child care settings. Regional centers continue to provide some services for children who are eligible under the Lanterman Developmental Disabilities Services Act that are not provided as special education and related services.
More information about educational services for children with special needs can be obtained through your local school district, local education agency or Special Education Local Plan Area.
Last modified: November 21, 2019