Special Education » Preschool


Early Intervention Assessment
When should I request an assessment?

It is never too early to start asking questions about your child’s developmental progress. As a parent, you know your child best. If your child is not meeting the milestones for his or her age, or if you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks, acts, and moves talk to your child’s doctor and share your concerns. Don’t wait. Acting early can make a real difference! Parents have the right to request an evaluation through your local school district at any time after your child has turned 3. Before submitting a request for assessment the following questions should be considered:


  • Has the child’s hearing and vision been checked in the last six months?
  • Has the child’s primary care physician noticed delays in development? (e.g., fine or gross motor delays, speech delays, cognitive delays)
  • Has the child’s caregivers (e.g. preschool teacher/day care provider) reported any problems in comparison to other children?
  • Has the child had any access to early intervention? (e.g., Preschool, Inland Regional Center, or services through private insurance)
What if my child is under the age of 3?
If your child is between the ages of birth and three years-old, and has a suspected developmental delay, he or she may be eligible for services through the Inland Regional Center or other county programs. Parents may want to request an assessment through private insurance.
How do I request an assessment?
Parents or guardians may request an assessment by completing enrollment and submitting a written letter requesting an assessment in all areas of suspected disability, to the Hemet Unified School District’s special education department. Click here to complete Enrollment and Referral Form.

What happens after I request an assessment?
Upon receiving a request for assessment in writing the district has 15 days to respond.

  • By the end of the fifteen days you should expect an assessment plan and referral packet or a prior written notice indicating why an assessment is not being granted
  • The referral packet includes proposed dates, times, and location for the assessment and forms to complete
  • Within 15 days of receiving the assessment plan parents should sign and return it to the special education department
How long does the assessment process take?
Upon receiving the signed assessment plan the district has 60 days to complete the assessment and schedule an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting to discuss the findings of the assessment and determine eligibility and services.

  • Typically, the Early Childhood Assessment Team will schedule two appointments to observe and assess the child followed by a third meeting to discuss the IEP
  • Evaluation sessions are often 30 minutes to 1 ½ hours
  • Initial Individualized Education Program meetings can range from 1 ½ to 2 hours
What should I bring to the assessment?
Please bring your completed intake packet to avoid unnecessary rescheduling. A light snack and preferred toy or game may also help keep your child focused and on task. Please refer to this checklist for things to bring:

  • Intake documents (Developmental history, enrollment form, reason for referral checklist, assessment plan, notice of meeting, and any other supporting documents that you would like the team to review)
  • Snack (e.g. Goldfish, raisins, fruit snacks, pretzels)
  • Preferred toy, game, or iPad app (something that can be used as a reward or to help entertain siblings)
What if I need to cancel or move an appointment?
Please contact the Special Education Department, if you need to move or cancel an assessment or IEP meeting.
What happens after the assessment is completed?
Upon completion of the child’s assessment an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting will be held. During the meeting the team will discuss the child’s evaluation and present levels of performance (strengths and weaknesses) to determine needs relevant to educational progress.

  • If needs are determined, the team will develop goals and discuss supports and services to help the child.
  • Parents will receive a copy of the IEP document free of charge
Who is part of the Individualized Education Program Team?
The IEP team consists of parents, specialists, teachers, and school administrators. Parents are encouraged to invite caregivers or other family members that could provide input regarding the child.
How is eligibility for special education determined? Who is eligible for services?
Eligibility for special education services is determined by the IEP team after all assessment data has been reviewed and discussed. In order to qualify for special education services the child must meet federal and state eligibility criteria for one or more of the following categories:
  • Intellectual Disabilities
  • Speech or Language Impairment
  • Visual Impairment
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Other Health Impairment
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Deafness
  • Hard of Hearing
  • Deaf-Blindness
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Autism
  • Traumatic Brain Injury

Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Services


Hemet Unified School District offers early childhood special education services for students ages 3 - 5. The services are designed to meet the developmental needs of each child eligible for special education services. The preschool teams work closely with families to provide quality intervention services by highly qualified personnel.


Speech and Language Services

Speech and Language services are provided at the student's home school.   Speech and language services specifically address communication disorders such as stuttering, articulation, language or voice impairment that adversely affect a child’s educational performance. A pupil shall be assessed as having a language or speech disorder which makes him or her eligible for special education and related services when he or she demonstrates difficulty understanding or using spoken language to such an extent that it adversely affects his or her educational performance and cannot be corrected without special education and related services.

GRASP (Giving Real Advantages to Special Preschoolers) Early Childhood Special Education  (ECSE) Program

A classroom setting designed to support students with speech and sound delays. Instruction is provided by a special education teacher, in consultation and collaboration with a speech-language pathologist. Students may also require direct speech therapy services to address speech sound delays.

3-Day Language and Learning Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Program

A structured, language-rich classroom environment led by a special education teacher and Instructional Assistants to support the development of communication and language skills. The special education teacher and instructional assistants provide instruction using developmentally appropriate practices in both a whole group and small group format.

5-Day Mild/Moderate Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Program

A highly structured, language-rich classroom environment led by a special education teacher and with the support of instructional assistants to provide instruction in the areas of communication and language, adaptive skills, behavior, pre-academic, and play skills. Simultaneously the teacher and instructional assistants implement evidence-based supports to meet each child's needs.

5-Day Moderate/Severe/Medically Fragile Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Program 

A highly supportive learning environment led by a special education teacher along with instructional assistants to meet students’ needs across multiple areas of development including cognition, language, adaptive skills, gross and fine motor skills, behavior, and self-regulation. Students may also require specialized equipment or need support to address their medical needs.

5-Day Autism Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) Program 

This program is designed specifically for preschool children who are significantly impacted by autism that demonstrate deficits in areas of communication, social skills, behavior, self-regulation, learning to learn skills, and adaptive skills. Instruction is provided by a special education teacher and instructional assistants. The principles of applied behavior analysis are the foundation for instruction. The program is highly structured and utilizes research-based strategies to provide intensive instruction to target areas of deficit to support the child’s development through a combination of a large group, small group, and individualized instruction. A collaborative approach is utilized with related service providers to ensure areas of need such as functional communication or fine/gross motor development are addressed daily and throughout all of the activities in the school day in both a systematic and naturalistic approach. If the student requires related services such as speech and language therapy or occupational therapy, in addition to the direct service, service providers work collaboratively with the classroom teacher and staff to ensure that the child is working on targeted communication skills throughout the school day.