Education of preschool aged-children with disabilities has been mandated in the United States since the mid-1970s. Children age 3–5 with disabilities have been served under Part B, Section 619 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (2004) beginning in 1986. Services to preschool-aged children include being educated in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) and receiving an Individualized Education Program (IEP) which includes the child’s present level of performance, goals and benchmarks for the child, and supports needed to meet the identified goals.

In planning instruction for young children with disabilities, prominent themes in early childhood special education are inclusion with typical peers, use of evidence-based and developmentally appropriate practices, and working with families to identify the strengths, needs, and goals for children. Inclusion in early childhood environments with typically developing peers has been linked to better cognitive and social outcomes for young children with disabilities (Barton & Smith, 2015). However, it is imperative in settings where young children with disabilities are taught that developmentally appropriate practices (i.e., teaching practices that are determined based on the child’s development, individual learning strengths and needs, and cultural context) that are also evidence-based are used. To this end, the Division of Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children has identified a set of recommended practices based on evidence and experience from the field (DEC, 2014). One overarching theme in early childhood special education included in the DEC Recommended Practices (2014) is the ongoing need for family-centered practices. These family-centered practices ensure the early childhood special education providers collaborate with the family to plan the goals and instruction for their child with a disability. Use of family-centered practices lead to better outcomes for young children with disabilities (Dunst, Trivette, & Hamby, 2007).