An examination of preschool services and programs for children with disabilities in North Carolina school districts

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Virginia Tech


The purpose of this study was to examine the provision of physical, occupational and speech therapy services and restrictiveness of settings for programs for children, 3-5 years old, with disabilities by North Carolina school districts. Public and federal school systems in North Carolina were participants in the study.

A survey research design was utilized to collect information from school districts. In addition to examining implementation of related service and least restrictive environment requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), possible effects of district size was also explored relative to the provision of preschool services. Also examined was whether differences existed between the public and Department of Defense federal school systems.

Data from surveys received from North Carolina Exceptional Children Program Administrators were used to illustrate that not all school districts provided all necessary therapy services to preschoolers with disabilities. Occupational therapy was the most reported therapy not provided to children identified as requiring the service. The primary reason for not providing therapy was a shortage of appropriate personnel.