EC Special Education

A Special Education Referral

If you know of a preschool-age child who is not making satisfactory developmental progress and a disability is suspected, a referral may be made for an evaluation to your local school district. When a referral is made, the district will gather all existing information on the child, including information from parents regarding concerns they may have about their child.

A review of existing data will be completed with the parents. This review determines the areas that need further assessment. With parental consent, an evaluation is completed. Parents will be asked to participate in their child's evaluation by completing questionnaires and/or checklists. The multidisciplinary evaluation team members will meet with the parent(s) of the child to discuss the results of the testing and determine whether the child meets the eligibility criteria to receive Special Education services and/or related services from the Early Childhood Special Education program. The parent(s) then receive the results outlined in an evaluation report describing the child's strengths and areas of delay.

Areas of development that can be used to determine eligibility include:

- Cognitive

- Communication (Speech and Language)

- Physical (Gross and Fine Motor)

- Social/Emotional/Behavioral

- Adaptive

After the team has completed the evaluation report and determined that the child is eligible for Early Childhood Special Education services, an IEP (Individualized Education Program) will be developed for the child. The IEP is written by the IEP team including the parent(s) and any professionals related to the areas of concern. The IEP team will use the evaluation results to describe the child's present level of functioning and plan developmental and educational goals. The team will then determine the Special Education and related services the child will receive in order to meet the goals and objectives.

Once determined eligible, a child may begin receiving services as early as his/her third birthday.

What Services Are Available?

Special Education means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parent, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.

ECSE teachers with state certification design and implement educational programs to teach children skills that they can apply in and out of the classroom. ECSE teachers are assisted and supported by paraprofessionals and specialists from a variety of fields as needed to support the educational program. For example:

- Speech/Language Pathologist

- Occupational Therapist

- Physical Therapist

- Behavior Inclusion Facilitator

- Nurse

Where Will Special Education Services Be Delivered?

Effective early intervention programs for preschool children with disabilities can be provided in a variety of settings. The key to determining the appropriate location for services is to decide which of the several options can best meet the needs identified for that child in his/her IEP. In determining the least restrictive environment for providing Special Education services, the IEP team must first consider an environment that allows the child to participate in developmentally appropriate activities with non-disabled peers. For preschool children, this could be their current day time setting (childcare center, home, Head Start classroom, etc.) and may include the use of supplemental aids and services. Pattonville School District also has several types of early childhood classrooms and therapy services to meet the wide range of children's needs.

Parent's Guide to Special Education in Missouri

The Parent's Guide to Special Education was revised in September 2008 to reflect state and federal regulations as outlined in the Missouri State Plan for Special Education, 2007 edition. This booklet provides parents with information to assist in their participation with the identification process and provision of educational services for children with disabilities. Public agencies responsible for the provision of special education services are encouraged to provide a copy of this guide to families of children currently receiving special education services, families involved in the identification/eligibility determination process, and families to whom you provide support services related to children with disabilities. Please click on the attachment below to view the Parent's Guide to Special Education in Missouri and the Procedural Safeguards Notice.

Parent Guide 9-08

Procedural Safeguards

Parents' Bill of Rights

The Missouri legislature passed a bill in 2009 (Senate Bill 291) that created a new state requirement for the Parents' Bill of Rights. During testimony on the bill, supporters indicated that the Bill of Rights is needed to provide a concise and easy to understand summary of important special education rights for parents of children with disabilities.

The newly developed Parents' Bill of Rights document is available online by clicking here.

ECSE Staff Information (314) 213-8105


Trisha Buenemann, Speech Language Diagnostician

(314) 213-8817

Jennifer Hoffmann, Educational Diagnostician

(314) 213-8858

Malisa Johnson, ECSE School Psychological Examiner

(314) 213-8859

Suzanne Keiser, Diagnostic Occupational Therapist

(314) 213-8860

Speech Therapists

Kim McCarthy

Trisha Buenemann

Kate Schnieder

Jamie Schnieders

Stephanie Sliefert

Ellen Serio

Occupational Therapists

Alaina Brooks

Suzanne Keiser

Kelsey Melchior

Physical Therapist

Jenny McDowell

Behavior Inclusion Facilitator

Theresa Reedy


Mary Krekeler, Director

Mel Fitzgerald, EC Coordinator

Michelle Doering, Executive Secretary

Laura Wick, Executive Secretary

Kayla Hinkley, Nurse

Erica Abowitz, Social Worker