How do I determine if my child is eligible for services?
Download the PDF of this resource at the bottom of the page.
All children should have the support and care they need to thrive, no matter the setting- at home, childcare, and school. Learn more about services that are available for children 5 and under. If your child is over 5, see this resource developed by Whatcom Taking Action.
If your child is 0-3: Early Intervention services are available to many children who have a slight delay and all children that have a disability. There are no waitlists for Early Intervention and most families referred qualified for services. Call SEAS at 360-715-7485 to schedule an evaluation.
If your child is 3-21: Students with disabilities who are determined eligible for Special Education and related services are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). An Individualized Education Program (IEP) specified the specific supports and supports for eligible children. See the resource for children over 5.
Child Find means finding children who need Special Education and related services. For children under 3, you can simply call SEAS to schedule an evaluation for Early Intervention. For children over 3, contact your school district to schedule a screening for developmental preschool, and as always, call SEAS if you have any questions. If your child is over 5, you can find more resources at Whatcom Taking Action.
Well Child Visit
Well-Child visits are a chance to talk with a trusted and supportive healthcare provider about your child’s physical and emotional development and includes a physical exam and a growth, developmental, behavioral, and learning assessment. Your doctor can help track your child’s development and provide referrals to additional support.
SEAS Navigators are informed about local services, therapies, evaluation requirements, and community services to support young children and families. You can contact SEAS at 360.715.7485.
Early Intervention (Birth-3) Programs
Early Intervention supports the growth, development, and learning of children birth to three years of age eligible for services. Early Intervention is often called Early Support for Infants and Toddlers, or ESIT. To learn more, visit the Whatcom Taking Action website about ESIT.
If your child is under 3, SEAS is the point of entry into Early Intervention Services. Tell the SEAS Navigator that you have concerns about your child’s development and want them evaluated for eligibility for Early Intervention (ESIT) services.
Developmental Preschool Programs (Ages 3-5)
Children with disabilities and developmental delays are entitled to preschool services from the local school districts under IDEA Part B. This program provides preschool classes for children that qualify and typically includes specialized therapy services (e.g., speech or occupational therapy). The family, school staff, and other professionals work together to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each child enrolled. Even if your child is not yet in school, you should contact the Special Education office in your local school district.
It is also a good idea to call the SEAS line, even though you will also have to request an evaluation from your local school district. The SEAS navigator can connect you with other services and help with any questions about requesting an evaluation from the school district.
Other Support Services Available
If your child is not eligible for Special Education service, other services and options are still available.
Childcare Centers: Child Care Check is Washington State’s licensed child care status and record database. Search providers and find out background check statuses, licensing history, monitoring reports, and more. For more help in finding programs to meet your family’s needs and resources to support your child’s development, visit Child Care Aware of Washington.
Preschool Services: Preschool services provide rich learning environments that can support your child’s development. Here is a listing of the preschool programs in Whatcom County.
Community Services: There are community services that can help youth and children build skills, connect, and have fun.
Medical/Therapy Services: A therapist can support your child in building skills in areas they are struggling with. For a list of therapists, visit Whatcom Taking Action, a referral from your primary care is often needed, and contact the children’s mental health referral line for counseling support.
Peer Support: There are many different ways to connect with other families and get the support you need. Visit Whatcom Taking Action for a list of places and opportunities. Also, OSPI has a Special Education parent liaison to help, and The Arc of Whatcom County has staff that can answer any questions at 360-715-0170.
Parenting Support: Through parenting support, you can gain skills in stress reduction, communication, and team work, and get help with specific challenges. Brigid Collins has a range of support services available.