Preschool eligibility determination for children with known or suspected learning disabilities under IDEA
We present data that describe the eligibility determination systems used in 49 states and the District of Columbia to qualify preschool children for services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Results of our survey indicate that these eligibility determination systems are characterized by a variety of categorical, combination, and noncategorical approaches. The use of the specific eligibility category of learning disabilities is particularly varied and controversial. Findings regarding the use of the learning disabled category are discussed from historical and functional perspectives. We conclude that controversies surrounding the use of the category learning disabilities with preschool children are not likely to be resolved unless attention is directed to the establishment of functional eligibility determination systems.