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Special School District of St. Louis County

My Child is Age 3-5

This is usually a time in the family’s life when students may be initially identified as needing special education. As families begin interacting with their IEP team, families should always keep in mind that the purpose of all education at all levels is to prepare a child for their future. Your IEP team will have access to the Missouri Learning Standards for students in early childhood settings. You can look at this skill set here.

The two key components to focusing on better outcomes are soft skills and self-determination. Here are a few suggestions for students at this age:

Consideration for Soft Skills:
  1. Making wants/needs known appropriately
  2. Self-control
  3. Personal responsibility
  4. Getting along with others
  5. Waiting for their turn
  6. Transitioning between activities and places appropriately for age

Consideration for Self-Determination:
  1. Give student opportunities to make choices (e.g., what to wear to school, book at the library, activity at recess, ask the student’s opinion)
  2. Teach problem solving process (e.g., what is the problem, what are my options, what are the consequences — pros and cons, what steps do I take, is the problem solved)

    Identify the problem and opportunities,
    Define goal,
    Explore possible strategies,
    Anticipate outcomes and act,
    Look back and learn


    Take a deep breath
  3. Explore “how students learn” (e.g., what’s easy, what’s hard, what helps you learn, what interferes with your learning, what are your favorite/least favorite things to do)
  4. Have your student participate in the aspects of the IEP that are appropriate for your child’s age

Select your student’s current age to get information on what you and
your school team can do now to support the transition process.

Ages 3 to 5 Ages 6 to 11 Ages 12 to 15 Ages 16 to 21
My Child is 3-5
My Child is 3-5 Step 1 Step 2 Step 3

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12110 Clayton Rd, Town & Country, MO 63131  /  314.989.8100  /  314.989.8552 – 711 (Missouri Relay)

Special School District of St. Louis County (SSD) is a leader in providing special education services to students with disabilities and also provides a wide range of career and technical education programs.
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