Early Childhood Services

What is the Education Programs for Young Children with Special Needs?

  • Additional funding provided by Alberta Learning to approved Early Childhood Services* operators.
  • Available for eligible children with severe disabilities between the ages of 2 1/2 to 6 years.
  • Available for a maximum of 3 consecutive years.
  • Provided for children who require additional support beyond that offered in a regular program.
  • Generally covers the costs of an Educational Assistant, therapy services, and specialized materials.
  • Requires that an Individualized Program Plan be developed each year the child accesses PUF.
  • Allows for children to be supported in a setting that best meets their educational needs. This is usually a Playschool or Kindergarten.

* Early childhood Services refers to the broad, coordinated system of local and provincial programs that meet the developmental and special needs of young children and their families.

When should I be concerned about my child's development?

You may wish to make an appointment with a pediatrician, health-care professional, speech-language pathologist or psychologist if your child experiences any of the following:

  • Has a physical disability of medical condition.
  • Is very hard to understand, especially to people who are not familiar to him/her.
  • Ignores your voice when you are not facing one another.
  • Isn't learning new words as quickly as most children his/her age.
  • Gets very close to things he wants to see.
  • Bumps into things.
  • Has difficulty holding and using a cup, spoon, or toys.
  • Seems to be in his/her "own little world" and doesn't interact or play with others.
  • Is unusually aggressive with brothers or sisters, pets, or peers.
  • Often seems to forget what he/she has been asked to do.
  • Is unable to sit still, even for short periods of time.

* All children show these behaviours some of the time. If any of these behaviours persist over a long period of time, and if they are combined with other concerns you have, it would be advisable to investigate further. Your child MAY qualify for the Education Programs for Young Children with Special Needs or mild/moderate services in the educational system.

What disabilities would my child need to have in order to be eligible?

  • Speech and language delays
  • Vision impairment
  • Hearing impairment
  • Severe behavioural or emotional difficulties
  • Physical disability
  • Medical concerns
  • Significant developmental delays

Will my child receive therapy through the Education Programs for Young Children with Special Needs?

Yes, therapists and other outside professionals may be contracted for consultation to staff and to you, within the education setting. The supports available to us include:

  • REACH Educational Consulting Services. A team encompassing a range of professionals who provide services to children with complex educational needs.
  • David Thompson Health Region START Program. A support team for assessment, consultation and/or direct therapy for children with severe special needs.
  • Red Deer Children's Services Centre. A team who offer a transdisciplinary assessment and consultation service to children , their families, and schools.
  • Speech pathologists, therapists and psychologists in private practice. Individualized consultation and/or direct service to staff and parents is available.