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Special Education

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Office of School Support Services

Early Start

Special Education: Early Start - Staff

Contact Position / Responsibility

(562) 997-8051

Questions about Special Education or General Education Programs should first be directed to the school site of attendance.


LBUSD provides assessment services for preschool children (ages 3-5). Pursuant to Education Code 56441.11(I), a preschooler qualifies for special education services if she/he is identified as having one or more of the following disabilities:

  • Autism
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Mental Retardation
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Orthopedic impairment
  • Serious emotional disturbance
  • Specific learning disability
  • Speech or language impairment in voice, fluency, language and articulation
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment
  • Established medical disability

LBUSD offers a continuum of Special Education placement options and related services to preschool children.


Questions regarding the assessment of a preschooler, or referrals for assessment should be directed to the child’s elementary school of residence.

School Finder: To find your child’s school of residence follow these steps:

  1. Go to: http://www.lbschools.net
  2. Click on “S” on the A-Z Index
  3. Click on School Finder/Street Finder
  4. Put in your address
  5. Press Find Schools

Pre-K Program

The Pre-K program at the Buffum Total Learning Center provides age-appropriate behavioral, language, academic, play, and sensory based programs. There are 2 Head Start classes and 2 Transitional Kindergarten classes on campus. Therefore, preschoolers have the opportunity to interact with typical peers.

The Buffum Total Learning Center houses a Parent Education Training Center where a variety of workshops are offered to parents throughout the day and in the evenings.

If you are interested in learning more about the Pre-K Center, you can call 562-498-2431 and ask for Miriam Garcia, Program Administrator.

Transistion to Preschool

A transition meeting will be held for children receiving services from Harbor Regional Center, or LBUSD Early Start Program, before a child’s third birthday. When eligible, an Individualized Education Program shall be written by the child’s 3rd birthday. For more information, please contact Miriam Garcia at 562.498-2431.

Required State Assessment (DRDP-Access)

The California Department of Education (CDE), Child Development Division, requires all preschoolers receiving services from a district/program to be assessed twice a year (fall and spring). Unlike the assessment tools used for grades 2-12, the preschool teacher/speech therapist (for speech only students) are asked to rate their students based on daily observations, anecdotal records, work samples and informal assessments.

The accountability system in place for preschoolers is called the DRDP-Access. This assessment results in the following reports to the school and parent/guardian:

  • A Developmental Status Report for each student. This report compares the student’s scaled score to that of a typical peer in the areas of:
    • Self Concept and Social and Interpersonal Skills
    • Self-Regulation and Safety and Health
    • Language and Literacy
    • Learning and Cognitive Competence
    • Math
    • Motor Skills
  • A Developmental Progress Report - This report tracks changes over time for students who have more than one assessment in the areas indicated above.

Early Start (Infant Program)

LBUSD serves infants from birth to age three (3), with low incidence disabilities. Per Education Code Section 56026.5, low incidence disabilities “means a severe disabling condition with an expected incidence rate of less than one percent of the total statewide enrollment in kindergarten through grade 12.” This category covers visual impairment, hearing impairment, and severe orthopedic impairment, or any condition thereof.

The Early Start services will be provided by a multidisciplinary team, to eligible infants and their families, in accordance with the infants’ Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).

Interagency collaboration: The LBUSD Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA) shall refer infants who demonstrate a significant cognitive, communication, social-emotional, and/or adaptive development to Harbor Regional Center. The SELPA shall collaborate closely with California Children’s Services (CCS) to meet the medically necessary occupational therapy and physical therapy needs of infants.

Early Start Referral Form Download .PDF File (Requires .PDF Reader)

Referrals and questions regarding the referrals must be sent to:

Christopher Gutierrez-Lohrman
Director of Special Education

Telephone: (562) 997-8051
Fax: (562) 997-8649

All referrals must be in writing and must include, the child’s full name, date of birth, parent/guardian’s contact information (name/address/telephone number), reason for referral, and contact information of the person making the referral (if different than parent/guardian). Please attach medical reports (if any).

Transition to Preschool

Before a child’s third birthday, a transition meeting will be held for children receiving services from Harbor Regional Center, or LBUSD Early Start Program. When eligible, an Individualized Education Program shall be written by the child’s 3rd birthday. For more information, please contact Miriam Garcia at 562.498-2431.


Harbor Regional Center
21231 Hawthorne Blvd.
Torrance, Ca 90503
Telephone: (310) 540-1711
California Children’s Services
Tucker School
2221 Argonne Ave
Long Beach, CA 90815
Telephone: (562) 498-2389

Long Beach Unified School District • 1515 Hughes Way, Long Beach CA 90810 • (562) 997-8000 • www.lbschools.net