NACOG Head Start & Early Head Start’s program philosophy is one of “inclusion”. This is represented through classroom and home base opportunities being made available to children with disabilities. Our programs are required, by our performance standards, to provide program opportunities for children identified with special needs. A minimum of 10% of our enrollment possibilities are available to children with special needs. In our preschool (3-5 year old) programs these children should be within the Arizona Department of Education Guidelines for Preschool Exceptional Services. This means an IEP (Individual Education Plan) in place. In Early Head Start an IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan) should be in place.


Elements of the Special Needs (Disability & Mental Health Component) are:
  • Screening related to gross & fine motor development, perceptual motor development; adaptive (interaction) skills; speech & language functioning as well as basic concept awareness.
  • Screening in the areas of social emotional development and behavioral interactions. Additional screenings for Early Head Start include temperament and parental stress.
  • Establish and maintain contractual relationships with community specialty provider that, at minimum, includes: Mental Health Consultants, Occupational Therapist, Speech Language Pathologists and Physical Therapists.
  • Coordinate and provide ongoing assurance of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with each of the local school district that our Preschool programs work with in.
  • In conjunction with Early Head State support the State level MOU with the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP).
  • Provide technical support in disabilities, behavioral health to our Centers, Home Based Visitors & most importantly our families.
  • This component also has the opportunity to provide crisis intervention services in mental heath arena to a family, a child and/or our staff.


The Special Needs (Disabilities & Mental Health) component crosses all program lines within NACOG Head Start and therefore has the opportunity to work in collaboration within our service areas and many community partners.