Important Update for Children Eligible Under Developmental Delay in Preschool Special Education

The Ohio General Assembly recently passed HB 554 which resulted in the expanded definition of “child with a disability” as it pertains to the developmental delay disability category found in Ohio Revised Code Section 3323.01 Education of children with disabilities definitions.

Children in preschool identified as having a developmental delay disability in special education no longer need to be re-evaluated in advance of turning age six or moving to kindergarten.

Any child with a disability in preschool during this academic year who has or will turn six years old on or before June 30, 2023, is permitted to remain in preschool and shall continue to be identified as having a developmental delay. While a child with a disability can be re-evaluated at any time, a child may now enter kindergarten with the developmental delay disability category without needing to be re-evaluated for continuing special education eligibility, unless the three-year timeframe requires it.

As of the bill’s effective date, April 6, 2023:

the definition of a “child with a disability” may include a child who is at least three years of age and less than ten years of age, who is experiencing developmental delays, as defined by standards adopted by the state board of education and as measured by appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures in one or more of the following areas: physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social or emotional development, or adaptive development; and who, by reason thereof, needs special education and related services.

Both Ohio Revised Code 3323.01 and Ohio Administrative Code 3301-51 will be updated to reflect the expanded language by July 1, 2023.

This means that as of April 6, 2023, any child who is not yet ten years old may be evaluated for eligibility in special education under the Developmental Delay disability category.

The Office of Early Learning and School Readiness and the Office for Exceptional Children will soon have guidance materials to support school districts in implementing this change. The resources will be posted on the following department webpage: Preschool Special Education | Ohio Department of Education

For questions regarding preschool special education, please email the Preschool Special Education team at

For questions about school-age special education, please email the Office for Exceptional Children at

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