A Roadmap to Quality Special Education Services for Young Children

The Early Childhood Center, part of Indiana University’s Institute on Disability and Community, has developed this website in partnership with the Indiana Department of Education’s Office of Special Education to navigate a pathway to sustainable change in special education services for young children with disabilities.

The impetus for the Child Impact Project was data analysis revealing inequities in service provision and outcomes for children with disabilities. Its goal is to equip school districts to increase inclusive services and child outcomes by providing a step by step process to achievable and maintainable change using evidence-based implementation practices to identify, plan, initiate, and expand improvement efforts.

The Child Impact Project roadmap currently provides guidance for two improvement initiatives:
1. Preschool Inclusion (3 years to 5 years)
2. Early Literacy (3 years to 8 years)




This website is the roadmap for your journey to better outcomes for children and families.

Universal Supports are accessible on the Child Impact Project Website, providing a variety of resources to build awareness and understanding of inclusive preschool or early literacy evidence-based practices and a roadmap of a step-by-step approach to achieve sustainable change. These universal resources will support districts who prefer to embark on a self-paced journey to enhance either preschool inclusion or early literacy.

Targeted Support is available to school districts desiring short-term assistance or consultation from the Early Childhood Center regarding preschool inclusion or early literacy and could include:

  1. explore district needs,
  2. consider district capacity to engage in stage-based implementation work,
  3. identify past efforts and impact,
  4. share evidence-base effective special education practices for young children,
  5. assist in problem-solving and identifying how to get started on improved district efforts.

Intensive Support is available to districts who desire long term technical assistance from the Early Childhood Center and includes facilitation of the stage-based implementation process of Exploring, Planning, Piloting, and Full implementation to address preschool inclusion or early literacy. District requirements for this stage are a commitment to ongoing team meetings and actions needed to implement improvements.

Inclusion Considerations

Just 1 in 3 Indiana preschoolers with disabilities receives special education services alongside their peers without identified disabilities.

For those children that are included in general education classrooms, research indicates that placement alone does not equal successful child learning or membership. Best practices (evidence-based) must be maximized to provide the individual supports that lead to increased child outcomes. While preschool inclusion can be challenging, this roadmap will help you on your journey to provide all preschoolers an equitable education by sharing the necessary steps to initiate and sustain high-quality and effective inclusive services.

Literacy Considerations

Indiana’s grade 3 assessment (IREAD 3 and ILEARN) data reveal that a significant number of students are not meeting 3rd grade English Language Arts (ELA) benchmarks.

This is disproportionately true for children of color, particularly boys, those with identified disabilities and English Language Learners (ELLs). Effectively implementing evidence-based literacy practices supports equitable education opportunities that can positively impact child outcomes. This roadmap will help you on your journey to provide all children (PK-3) high-quality, equitable, and effective PK-3 literacy instruction.

Please Contact Us at with your questions!