Connecticut Preschool Special Education Needs Assessment

Allison Friedman-Krauss, Ph.D., Karin Garver, Milagros Nores, Ph.D., Zijia Li, Ph.D., and Charles Whitman


The National Institute for Early Education Research (NIEER) conducted a needs assessment to understand and describe early childhood services for preschool-age children with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in the state of Connecticut. In collaboration with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), NIEER developed survey protocols to collect information about the quality of the environments in which 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old preschoolers in Connecticut receive services as part of their IEP. This report provides a statewide representative picture of the state of preschool programs in which children with IEPs are served in CT. The needs assessment is designed to provide CSDE with information to support professional learning opportunities and other CSDE priorities in relation to preschool-age children with disabilities, as well as to provide guidance to ensure that all preschool-age children with an IEP in the state receive high-quality services in their least restrictive environment (LRE).

This report summarizes the findings of the needs assessment. In particular, we focus on preschool program characteristics, the least restrictive environment (LRE), the development of IEPs, engagement with the CT Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS), curriculum practices, assessment, and professional development. Overall, the report highlights areas of strong alignment to best practices and areas that would benefit from additional professional development across preschool programs in CT.


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