Topeka Public Schools provides many services for children ages birth-5 who are suspected of having special needs. Services include screening, evaluation, referral, and follow-along. Intervention services are available for children ages 3-5 with identified disabilities. Services are provided free of charge.
Developmental early childhood screening is available to all children ages birth-5 who reside within the Topeka Public School’s attendance boundaries. Screening is offered as a first step to determine whether children may have problems with vision, hearing, speech, learning, behavior, motor skills, or overall development. After screening, further evaluation may be recommended, families may be referred to other agencies and services in the community, or suggestions for home may be made, with follow-up provided at regular intervals. Please call 235-7261 to schedule a screening.
If screening indicates the need for more in-depth examination of a child's abilities, an evaluation will be recommended. Evaluations provide more specific information regarding the nature and extent of a child's developmental concerns. The professional team conducting evaluations uses tests, which have been validated and/or standardized for use with young children. Observations in various settings, and parental and preschool reports are also considered important components of the evaluation process. Comprehensive evaluations may be conducted in the child’s community preschool/child care setting, in one of our Preschool Intervention Program (PIP) classrooms or by appointment.
Topeka Public Schools provides a wide array of services to children after evaluation is completed and needs are determined. For children ages birth-2, evaluation may result in referral to an infant stimulation program or to other services in the community. Children ages 3-5 who have articulation, voice or fluency problems may qualify for speech therapy in a local elementary school. Children ages 3-5 who have delays in development may be eligible for early childhood special education services. Depending on the needs of the child, those services may include specialized instruction, speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc. The setting in which these services are delivered is also dependent on the child’s needs and can vary from the child’s home, preschool/child care, or one of our Preschool Intervention Program (PIP) classrooms. For a list of PIP classrooms, and other staff, visit the PIP Staff page.
In an effort to provide appropriate learning and play opportunities for the early childhood special education students, our classrooms include peer models. Peer models are children who interact with students with special needs in activities designed to encourage language, fine and gross motor development and social interaction.
Our program is child oriented and promotes interaction between children with diverse abilities. Our curriculum addresses all areas of development and materials are appropriate for various developmental levels. Children who are peer models will not only be exposed to children with special needs but will also learn to interact with them. Peer models will receive instruction from our certified teachers in programs designed to foster kindergarten readiness and develop their skills in the areas of social/emotional, communication, motor and self-help.
To qualify as a peer model your child will need to pass a developmental screening administered by PIP staff. Screenings cover vision and hearing, motor skills, school readiness concepts, speech/language development, and general social behavior.
Step 1: Schedule a developmental screening. Call 235-7261, or 235-7240 for an appointment.
Step 2: Developmental screening. After a child passes the screening, staff will discuss placement options with the parents. Student placement is determined by address and classroom demographics at the time of enrollment.
Step 3: Enroll student at assigned elementary school. Parents will complete and sign a pupil information form and other forms required by the school. Parents must provide copies of the Birth Certificate from Vital Statistics, current immunization records, and a doctor signed health assessment.
Note that no transportation is provided by the district for students participating as peer models.
Christine Graves, M.S.
Preschool Intervention Program Coordinator