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Office of Special Education Services

Services for students with disabilities
from birth through age 21


Ages 3 through 5

All placement decisions are made through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team process. 

Preschool Education Program (PEP)

The Preschool Education Program (PEP) provides special education services to students ages three through five who have educational disabilities. PEP serves students with a wide range of developmental needs, many with mild to moderate learning delays in one or more areas.

Classes are located in 14 elementary schools throughout the county, and at the Stephen Knolls School. All students placed in PEP have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and many receive related services such as speech-language therapy, occupational and/or physical therapy.

PEP follows the MCPS prekindergarten curriculum, with adaptations as indicated by student IEPs. All PEP classes utilize support from a parent educator, who works closely with families to develop relationships and partnership with parents to enhance their child’s educational program.

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Speech and Language Services

Itinerant speech-language services are offered in prekindergarten speech centers, located in 43 elementary schools countywide. Most students attend small group sessions one to three times per week, and work on speech- or language-related goals as indicated on their IEP.

Pre-K Language Classes are offered for eligible students two days/week, for two-and-a-half hours each day, where students work on communication development, articulation skills, and intelligibility. Classes are available five days/week for two-and-a-half hours each day for students with moderate to severe comprehensive speech-language needs.

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Comprehensive Autism Preschool Program (CAPP)

Located in regular elementary schools, CAPP classes provide students with Autism Spectrum Disorder a highly structured and individualized instructional program. Program goals include increasing academic, language, social and adaptive skills to maximize student independence. Teaching procedures are based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Students attend class five days/week, for six hours each day, and receive approximately four hours of 1:1 discrete trial instruction and two hours of typical prekindergarten experiences in a small group environment daily.

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Deaf/Hard of Hearing Services (DHOH)

Prekindergarten classes at Rock Creek Valley Elementary School are offered to three- through five-year-old students who are deaf or hard of hearing, emphasizing auditory training, language/communication skills, and concept development following the prekindergarten curriculum. Students attend class five days/week, for half-day or full-day sessions, as determined by the IEP team, with consideration of their age and developmental needs. Instruction may be delivered in any of three communication modes: total communication, cued speech, and auditory/oral.

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Vision Services

Eligible students who are visually impaired or blind may attend class five days/week at Rock View Elementary School. Students receive specialized instruction in the prekindergarten curriculum from a teacher of the visually impaired, and learn through a multi-sensory approach. Students participate in half-day or full-day classes as determined by the IEP team, with consideration of their age and developmental needs.

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Physical Disabilities

The prekindergarten physical disabilities program provides services and comprehensive supports to students with physical and health-related disabilities that cause significant impact on educational performance in the general education class. These students exhibit needs in motor development and information processing. Services provided to students include special education instruction, consultation with classroom teachers, and occupational and physical therapy services.

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