The ARIN Intermediate Unit 28 Early Intervention (EI) Preschool Program provides a variety of programs and services for children from their third birthday until entry into school. Services for children during the preschool years are provided at no cost to their families when the child is determined to meet eligibility requirements. Individual Education Programs (IEPs) are written to define the services that will be provided to those eligible children.
As the process of evaluation begins, families will develop a relationship with a service coordinator who will guide them through the early stages of preschool age services through the Intermediate Unit. The service coordinator may visit the home to meet the child and explain the early intervention program. With parents’ consent, a multidisciplinary evaluation (MDE) is conducted by specialists in fields such as physical and speech therapy. The evaluation takes place in the child’s “natural environment,” one in which the child is most comfortable and could include the home or early childhood center where the child may already be enrolled.
Preschool Services may include:
o Screening and Evaluation
o Support in Early Childhood Environments
o Specialized Classrooms
o Transition to School Age Programs
Screening and Evaluation
Screening and Evaluation services are available in order to determine the eligibility for early intervention services. Screening is a brief snapshot of a child’s health and developmental status using standardized screening measures and is used as an indicator or referral for further assessment. Evaluation is a more in-depth process that occurs to determine eligibility for early intervention services.
Evaluation services may include developmental testing, hearing testing, speech and language evaluation, occupational and physical therapy evaluation, and vision screening. The evaluation for your child may also include informal evaluation measures. Informal evaluation uses play observation, nursery school/day care observation reporting, and an intake which allows parents to provide information about the child's medical and developmental history along with current developmental strengths and areas of concern. An Evaluation Report is written following the evaluation process.
Support in Early Childhood Environments
Educational support services are provided to eligible children enrolled in preschool and day-care programs. Special education staff is available to the eligible child, their parents and/or teachers to provide information to support appropriate developmental activities in the home and school setting. Consult support may include modeling teaching strategies and methods and recommending adaptations of materials or equipment. This staff person facilitates development and implementation of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) designed specifically for the eligible child. Related service personnel who may also support the child within these settings include the speech therapist, occupational therapist, physical therapist and hearing and vision teachers as appropriate.
Specialized classrooms are available for those preschoolers who need a small-group setting with support from a variety of instructional personnel who may include the classroom teacher, speech language pathologist and instructional assistant. Additional staff who may participate within the specialized classroom may include an occupational therapist, physical therapist and hearing and vision teachers, dependent upon the needs of the child. In addition to the specific instructional requirements of a child’s IEP, students within the specialized classroom may participate in activities during the day such as opening circle, discovery time, snack, song and story circle as well as arrival and dismissal routines. There are a variety of specialized classrooms within the ARIN EI Program and each type of classroom will vary according to the needs of the children enrolled.
Specialized Classroom – Little Apples
Educational support is available for preschoolers who need a small group setting with typically developing peers. The Little Apples classrooms offer specialized instruction with appropriate services and supports to eligible children in the style of a traditional preschool classroom. Children receive instruction in developmentally appropriate academics, social development, language and gross and fine motor concepts. This classroom allows opportunities for children in other specialized classrooms to transition out of those groups and into an inclusive setting. Classrooms are located both in Armstrong and Indiana Counties.
Specialized Classroom – Little Sprouts
This experience offers an opportunity for a child to develop skills with other children with language or developmental delays in a small group that emphasizes language and developmental stimulation. Speech and language therapy and other related services are integrated into the classroom routine.
Specialized Classroom – Little Buds
Children receive intensive programming in specialized instruction and speech therapy in Little Buds. This classroom session is provided for children at ARIN preschools and follows the ABA methodology and includes instruction with peers through Natural Environment Teaching. The principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) are utilized to provide an intensive level of teacher service and speech therapy in this model of instruction.
Specialized Classroom – Little Seedlings
Children receive intensive programming in specialized instruction and speech therapy in Little Seedlings. This classroom session is provided for children at ARIN preschools and follows the ABA methodology. The principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) are utilized to provide an intensive level of teacher service and speech therapy in this model of instruction.
Children who are eligible to transition to school age programming and their families are provided with a seamless process to their local elementary school. When children are enrolled in early intervention services the process begins one year prior to enrollment in school age programs to ensure that families and school districts can plan for educational programming. Individual meetings are held with school districts prior to the end of February. A Transition Plan is included in the child’s IEP to prepare for school age programming through collaboration with the family, school district, community services and the IU 28 Preschool Early Intervention Program and/or contracted agencies.
Kittanning Little Apples/Little Sprouts/Little Seedlings/Little Buds
1200 Orr Avenue
Kittanning, PA 16201
724-763-7259 (Little Apples & Sprouts)
724-762-1342 (Little Buds/Little Seedlings)
Homer City Little Apples/Little Sprouts/Little Seedlings/Little Buds
20 W. Indiana Street, Suite 2
Homer City, PA 15748
In the event of inclement weather, please check the website at ARIN Schoolcast http://legacy.iu28.org/schoolcast/ for cancellations or delays.