Disabilities & Inclusive Practices


Special Needs, Disabilities, and Inclusive Practices (INC) is 1 of the 12 content areas identified within the 2014 WI Core Competencies for Professionals Working with Young Children and their Families. This competency focuses on professionals embodying the values, policies, and practices that support the right of every child and family, regardless of ability, to participate in a broad range of activities and contexts as full members of families, communities, and society. 

Wisconsin Early Childhood Collaborating Partners provides information about serving children with disabilities.

Wisconsin Early Childhood Inclusion Tool Kit (pdf) was developed by Wisconsin’s Early Childhood Inclusion Committee in order to provide information and resources to assist ECE providers as they strive to include and support the youngest of Wisconsin’s children.

The Wisconsin Birth to 3 Program (website) is committed to children under the age of three with developmental delays and their families. A federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), provides a framework for a comprehensive program that coordinates developmental, health and social services within the community.

The WI Department of Health Services (DHS)  (website) oversees the Birth to 3 Program in Wisconsin and has developed legislation (DHS 90) that specify the program requirements.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), states that all local education agencies (LEAs) in Wisconsin must provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to children age 3 to 21 who have a disability. 

DPI Special Education Team information (webpage) - Children are evaluated to determine if they meet one of the state's eligibility criteria. (webpage). Early childhood special education programs operate under the supervision of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (WDPI website)  Special education and related service professionals may provide consultation to staff, direct services to the child, training related to the disability, and other services that are identified in the child's individualized education program (IEP).

The Department of Children and Families (DCF) provides and oversees a variety of programs to assist children and families in Wisconsin, including YoungStar. YoungStar is Wisconsin’s child care quality rating and improvement system that gives parents the tools and information they need to make informed decisions when choosing quality care for their child(ren).

Updated 2/7/2023

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