ASD and Delaware’s Early Childhood Education System

Young children under the age of 5 typically receive services through “Part C” under the Department of Public Health, or through “Part B” under the Department of Education. This depends on whether they receive an “educational classification” of ASD before age 5.

Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) supports a statewide, coordinated system of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and/or developmental delays and their families. Child Development Watch (CDW) provides the services funded by the Part C Early Intervention System for children from birth to age 3. This system ensures that early intervention is available and accessible for all eligible children and their families, regardless of financial status.

Certain children from birth to age 3 are offered services through Part B of the IDEA under the “Birth Mandate.” In Delaware, the Birth Mandate means that children who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing, Visually Impaired, Deaf/Blind or have Autism Spectrum Disorder are entitled to free, appropriate public education from birth. These children are eligible for services from both CDW and their school district. When a child is found to have one of these conditions, a referral is made to the child’s school district for determination of Part B eligibility.

The Delaware Department of Education (DOE) works closely with CDW to support the transition from CDW to public school for young children.  Additionally, DOE is the lead agency for providing special education and related services for children with ASD, from birth to 21 years of age.

Understanding Educational Eligibility and Medical Diagnosis of Autism

The Department of Education and Center for Disabilities Studies developed an informative brochure to help parents and providers understand the differences between educational classification and medical diagnosis of autism, as each may lead to a different group of supports and services. These brochures are available to access, print, and distribute in English, Spanish, Hindi, and Telugu.

For printed copies of brochures, submit an email request to Brittany Blumenthal, bblument@udel.edu.

Understanding Educational Eligibility and Medical Diagnosis of Autism Brochure in English
Understanding Educational Eligibility and Medical Diagnosis of Autism Brochure in Mandarin
Understanding Educational Eligibility and Medical Diagnosis of Autism Brochure in Spanish
Understanding Educational Eligibility and Medical Diagnosis of Autism Brochure in Hindi
Understanding Educational Eligibility and Medical Diagnosis of Autism Brochure in Haitian Creole
Understanding Educational Eligibility and Medical Diagnosis of Autism Brochure in Cantonese
Understanding Educational Eligibility and Medical Diagnosis of Autism Brochure in Arabic
Understanding Educational Eligibility and Medical Diagnosis of Autism Brochure in Telugu

Resources for Self-Advocates and Families

Many children and adults with ASD and their families benefit from clinical services, respite or other support. Autism Delaware has a resource guide that describes a variety of agencies and other organizations that support people with ASD and their families through a variety of services. Family SHADE, an organization described below, also has a searchable database with information about different providers in Delaware.

Learn more about family advocacy and self-advocacy organizations in Delaware:

 

Autism Delaware is an organization founded by Delaware families with a common goal to provide needed service and support to Delaware’s autism community. Autism Delaware provides a variety of services for individuals with ASD of all ages and their families, including Family Navigation, parent support, recreational and work opportunities, advocacy and awareness campaigns, regular informational newsletters, and clinical services. Learn more about Autism Delaware here.

Family SHADE, the Family Support and Healthcare Alliance Delaware, is a collaborative community of family partners and organizations dedicated to enable, empower, and enrich families’ lives by connecting families to supports and services in their areas. Learn more about Family SHADE here.

Parent Information Center of Delaware, Inc. (PIC) is committed to improving outcomes for children by providing information and support around educational and related services to parents of children with disabilities, from birth to 26-years. Learn more about PIC of Delaware here.

Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) is a nonprofit organization run by and for autistic people. ASAN is dedicated to empowering individuals with ASD across the world to take ownership of their lives and their futures and provide education to their communities. ASAN’s members and supporters include autistic adults and youth, cross-disability advocates, and non-autistic family members, professionals, educators, and friends. Learn more about ASAN here.

Delaware Family Voices (DEFV) is a federally-funded organization led by parents of children and young adults with physical, developmental and mental health challenges. DEFV helps families of children with special needs to become informed, experienced, self-sufficient advocates for their children and families. Their website, the Family to Family Health Information Center, provides information about resources, trainings, and workshops available for families and children with special needs. Learn more about DEFV here.