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Additional Information and Considerations when Identifying Significant Developmental Delay

This page contains frequently asked questions, considerations through age 9, and determining when a student no longer qualifies.

Significant Developmental Delay Frequently Asked Questions

If a child has been evaluated and found to meet the disability criteria for Significant Developmental Delay and needs special education services, an IEP is developed based on the unique and individual needs of each student. The placement for the child is developed to implement the IEP in the least restrictive environment.

IEP teams should take several factors into consideration when determining whether a student qualifies as having a Significant Developmental Delay. These considerations apply to both initial evaluations and reevaluations. All considerations apply to any student 3 through 9 years of age. Factors to consider include:

  • the age and developmental level of the child,
  • previous participation in general early childhood settings,
  • access to developmentally appropriate practices,
  • and ample opportunities to learn.


Considerations through the Age of 9

It is not automatic that a child continues to receive special education and related services under the category of Significant Developmental Delay until the age of 10. Remember the intent of the rule is to allow enough time for the IEP team to gather sufficient information to determine, when appropriate, a new disability category. A reevaluation for continued eligibility under a new category or to determine the child no longer needs special education and related services must occur before the age of 10. Note that the state rule is an age (not grade level) limit/deadline.

When to Determine the Child No Longer Needs Special Education Services or Should Qualify Under a Different Criteria

Natural times to consider conducting a reevaluation include:

  • 3 year reevaluation (at age 6, 7, 8, or 9)

  • Annual IEP (review information)

  • End of the school year (especially during the year of the child's 9th birthday)

  • Any time the IEP team has enough information to determine a new disability criteria area or that the child no longer needs special education services