Special Education

Special Education The Preschool Assessment Program

The Preschool Assessment Program is located at:
Westview High School (Room A127)
13500 Camino Del Sur, San Diego, CA  92129
Phone: (858) 484-8661  Ext. 3740
Fax: (858) 484-8595


Painted Hands

Our Mission Statement ...

The Poway Unified School District Special Education Preschool Assessment Team is committed to locating, identifying and serving children with disabilities ages 3-5 in our community in order to prepare them for successful transition to elementary school.




Judy Monday, Program Specialist 858-484-8661  Ext. 3723 jmonday@powayusd.com
Karin Cameron, Teacher - Special Education PreK 858-484-8661  Ext. 3721 kcameron@powayusd.com
Gina Dasco, Speech-Language Pathologist 858-484-8661  Ext. 3712 gdasco@powayusd.com
Helen Williams, Speech-Language Pathologist 858-484-8661  Ext. 3718 hwilliams@powayusd.com
Barbara VanHeyningen, Instructional Assistant 858-484-8661  Ext. 3740 bvanheyningen@powayusd.com
Samantha Wasowski, School Psychologist 858-538-8403  Ext. 3153 sbailey@powayusd.com
Monica Ritchie, School Psychologist 858-484-8661  Ext. 3719 moflores@powayusd.com
Rebecca Cohen, Office Assistant 858-484-8661  Ext. 3742 rcohen@powayusd.com


Developmental Norms

Speech and Language

  • Three Year Old:
    • Speech can be understood 50-75% of the time
    • Consistently uses beginning consonants, although they may not be clear
    • Produces the sounds m, p, w, b, n, and h
    • Should have final consonants in words
    • Can use some sounds with airflow
    • Able to produce consonant clusters (two consonants together, e.g., "plane") although one sound may not be clear
  • Four Year Old:
    • Speech can be understood 75-90% of the time
    • Continues to omit some middle consonants
    • Produces the sounds t, d, g, k, f, and y
  • Five Year Old:
    • Speech can be understood 90-100% of the time
    • Produces most sounds correctly although l, r, s, z, v, th, sh, and ch continue to develop
    • Significant reduction in the number of persistent sound errors
  • Six/Seven Year Olds:
    • Produce the sounds l, -ing, th, r, v, s, z, sh, ch, and j
  • Three Year Old:
    • Understands 1200-2000+ words
    • Uses 800-1500+ words
    • Uses plurals, possessives, verb + ing, is/are/am, pronouns (I, me, mine, you, my)
    • Understands the use of objects
    • Understands simple concepts “in, off, under, out of, on, up, top, bottom, little, big, happy, sad, etc.”
    • Follows 2-step related commands
    • Uses 4-6 word sentences
    • Answers simple “wh” questions (who, what, where, why)
    • Uses “this/that”
    • Asks simple questions
  • Four Year Old:
    • Understands 2800+ words
    • Uses 900-2000+ words
    • Uses 4-8 word sentences
    • Uses present singular (e.g., “she eats”), pronouns (he, she, they), regular past tense (e.g., “I walked”)
    • Understands concepts “beside, forward, backward, down, between, inside, etc.”
    • Talks about past experiences (overgeneralizes the use of “yesterday”)
  • Five Year Old:
    • Uses a vocabulary of 2200+ words
    • Understands concepts “behind, first, last, ahead of, etc.”
    • Enjoys telling their own stories
    • Enjoys riddles and jokes
    • Participates in conversation
    • Uses words related to sequence (1st, next)
    • Able to answer the phone

Social Development

  • Three Year Old:
    • Desire to please parents
      Lively and talkative
    • Enjoys sharing thoughts and ideas
    • Plays along side other children
    • Self-centered, believes that the world evolves around them
    • Changes topic of discussion
    • Expresses emotion
    • Begins to use language in imaginative ways
    • Provides descriptive details to facilitate comprehension
    • Uses attention getting words like “Hey”
    • Clarifies and requests clarification
    • Pre-narratives begin Four Year Old:
    • Assumes the role of another person in play
    • Uses more fillers to acknowledge partner's message (uh-huh, okay)
    • Begins code switching (using simpler language) when talking to very young children Requests permission to do something
    • Begins using language for fantasies, jokes, and teasing
    • Makes conversational repairs when listener has not understood
    • Primitive narratives: events follow from central core/use of inference in stories
    • Topic maintenance for 3 turns and provides explanations
    • Requests more information to keep conversation going (“Why?”)
    • Terminates conversation appropriately
    • Uses hints to get listener to do/get something
    • Begins to understand the meaning of friendship
    • Cooperative in play, but may need adult help
    • Likes to listen to stories
    • Whispers and tells secrets
  • Five Year Old:
    • Invents games with simple rules
    • Organizes other children for pretend play
    • Confuses fantasy with reality
    • Can take turns and share, but doesn’t always want to
    • Can be bossy Uses swear words or bathroom words to get attention
    • Likes to make their own decisions
    • Notices when another child is angry or sad
    • Likes to feel grown-up
    • Has a basic understanding of right and wrong
    • Understands and respects
    • Often asks permission
    • Enjoys collecting things
    • Uses “thank you, please, and you’re welcome” appropriately
    • Plays cooperatively for 15 minutes


  • Three Year Old:
    • Puts together a 6-piece puzzle
    • Matches an object to a picture
    • Imagines objects and events
    • Has difficulty distinguishing fact from fiction
    • Demonstrates fears Knows sounds animals make
    • Identifies people by gender Four Year Old:
    • Can place objects on a line from largest to smallest
    • Understands the concepts of tallest, biggest, same, more, on, in, under, above Understands the order of daily routines
    • Continues 1 activity for 10-15 minutes
    • Learns name, address & phone number if taught
  • Five Year Old:
    • Able to memorize address & phone number
    • Understands that stories have a beginning, middle, and end
    • Draws pictures that represent animals, people, and objects
    • Identifies missing parts of objects


  • Three Year Old:
    • Pretends to read books
    • Labels objects in books
    • Enjoys listening to stories/rhymes
    • May begin attending to specific print such as letters in names
    • Recognizes specific books by cover
    • Understands that books are handled in particular ways
  • Four Year Old:
    • Recognizes local environmental print (McDonald’s arch, stop sign)
    • Knows that it is the print that is read in stories
    • Segments syllables (clap for each part in word “camera”)
    • Begins to understand rhyme
    • When being read a story, connects information and events to life experiences
    • Can identify some alphabet letters, especially those from own name
  • Five Year Old:
    • Knows parts of a book, functions, and print orientation(left-right, top-bottom)
    • Begins to track print to familiar text
    • “Reads” familiar texts, not verbatim
    • Recognizes/names all uppercase and lowercase letters
    • Segmenting/blending syllable skills Identifies and generates rhymes
    • Knows some 1:1 letter sound correspondences
  • Three Year Old:
    • Understands quantities like one, some, more, most
    • Counts 2-3 objects
    • Recognize familiar shapes
    • Rote counts to 5
    • Gives age
  • Four Year Old:
    • Counts up to 10 objects
    • Names 3 shapes Five Year Old:
    • Identifies few numbers Rote count to 30 Counts up to 20 objects
    • Begins to add small numbers in their head Writing
  • Three Year Old:
    • "Writes" across the paper in linear fashion
    • Draws a circle and a square
    • Scribbles
    • Makes mock letters (pretends to write)
  • Four Year Old:
    • Begins to write name
    • Begins to copy/trace letters (reversals are frequent)
  • Five Year Old:
    • Can copy words Use invented spelling
    • Use a group of letters to form a word (many of the letters will be consonants)


Gross Motor
Fine Motor
  • Three Year Old:
    • Catches balloons
    • Throws a ball
    • Kicks a ball forward
    • Walks short distance on tiptoe
    • Climbs up/down small slide
    • Jumps
    • Runs
    • Beginning to alternate feet going upstairs
  • Four Year Old:
    • Begins to gallop
    • Begins to bounce ball
    • Pumps on swing
    • Engages in games of catch
    • Hops on one foot
  • Five Year Old:
    • Learns to skip
    • Catches bounced ball
    • Jumps over low objects
    • Refined climbing skills
    • Improvement in throwing skills
    • Begins to move body to catch objects
  • Three Year Old:
    • Scribbles with crayons
    • Handles a fork/spoon
    • Begins to use buttons/snaps/zippers
    • Feeds self
    • Helps dress and undress self
    • Washes/dries hands
    • Begins to brush teeth
    • Builds tower of 6-9 blocks
    • Can handle small objects (e.g., puzzles)
    • Can draw/paint in circular, horizontal vertical motions
  • Four Year Old:
    • Use fork/spoon skillfully
    • Dresses/undresses without much help
    • Stacks 10 or more blocks
    • Threads small beads on string
    • Cuts on a line
    • Can make representational pictures (e.g., house, people, flowers)
  • Five Year Old:
    • Displays hand dominance
    • Can paste
    • Can trace shapes
    • Draws recognizable human figures
    • Begins to tie shoes Holds crayons with fingers

Play Development

  • Three Year Old:
    • Uses sequences in play (e.g., mixes cake, bakes it, serves it, washes dishes)
    • Re-enacts experienced events with new outcomes
    • Associative play (children play with each other, sharing similar materials and activities in an unorganized way
    • Uses blocks and sandbox for imaginative play (e.g., blocks used as enclosures)
    • Uses one object to represent another
    • Uses doll/puppet as participant in play
    • Begins to take turns with assistance
    • Can usually play cooperatively, but may need adult help
    • Engages in play activity for approximately 20 minutes
    • Has imaginary playmate/companion
  • Four Year Old:
    • Begins to problem solve events not experienced
    • Uses dolls/puppets to act out scenes
    • Build 3-dimensional structures with blocks Plays at least one table game with supervision Incorporates verbal directions into play
    • Takes turns without assistance
  • Five Year Old:
    • Plans a sequence of pretend events
    • Organizes what is needed, both objects and other children
    • Coordinates more than one event at a time
    • Highly imaginative, sets scene without realistic props
    • Full cooperative play for at least 15 minutes
    • Plays a pretend career/professional role in play
    • Plays 2 or 3 table games

Sources: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1530F.pdf, http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Publications/PM1530E.pdf,



How It Works

Click for Screening Form

Screening Process

If your child is under the age of 3 and you have concerns about their development, please contact HOPE Infant Family Support Program or San Diego Regional Center.

If your child is 3-5 years of age and you have concerns about their development, contact the PUSD Special Education Preschool Assessment Team at (858) 484-8661 x 3740. Follow the instructions stated on the voicemail. Our clerical assistant will contact you to set up an appointment. If you have information or evaluations that have been completed on your child, please bring them with you.

On your appointment date, your child will be with specialists for about 60 minutes. These specialists include a school psychologist, speech-language pathologist, resource specialist and resource nurse. During this time, the specialists will get an overview of your child’s skills in the following areas:

*Language *    Articulation *    Vision/Hearing
*Preacademics    *Concepts     *Motor

After the screening, we will sit down with you and discuss your child’s performance. If there are areas of concern, we will develop an evaluation plan and ask your permission to assess your child further. The assessment will determine eligibility for special education services.


Upon signing the evaluation plan, appointments for the assessment(s) will be scheduled. After the assessments are completed, a meeting will be scheduled with you. The purpose of the meeting will be to determine if your child meets one of the 14 disability categories for special education and requires specialized instruction. If your child is eligible, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be developed for your child. The IEP will outline your child’s needs and the service(s) required for your child to make progress.


Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some answers to questions we hear often:


What do services look like?

What are the hours for services?

What services are available?

Where are services provided?

Will my child receive services once they enter kindergarten?

How much will services cost?


What do services look like?

Children are typically seen in small groups. Groups sessions are 30 minutes to 45 minutes depending on the needs of the child. Services are based on each child’s individual goals.


What are the hours for services?

We provide services for preschoolers during school hours, Monday through Friday, excluding District holidays, Professional Growth Days, and Teacher Conference Days.


What services are available?

If eligible, children may receive related services, such as speech/language services, or adapted physical education services. Children may also receive specialized instruction, including resource services, or instruction in a special education preschool class (Special Day Class).


Where are services provided?

Children who require speech/language services only receive services at their elementary school of residence. Children who require resource services may receive them at Adobe Bluffs Elementary. For these services, parents bring their child to the school, wait while the service is provided, and take their child home. Children who require placement in a Preschool Special Day Class receive related services as part of their program, at the school where the class is located. There are different types of Preschool Special Day Classes, and they are located at different elementary schools across the District. Placement is made either at your school of residence, or as close to your school of residence as possible, where the recommended program is available.


Will my child receive therapy once they enter kindergarten?

If your child continues to be eligible for services when they are in transitional kindergarten/kindergarten, and they attend a PUSD school, the services continue at the District school they attend, during their school day.


How much will services cost?

Special education services are provided at no cost to you as part of a free appropriate public education.



The Poway Unified School District (PUSD) is an equal opportunity employer/program and is committed to an active Nondiscrimination Program. PUSD prohibits discrimination, harassment, intimidation, and bullying based on actual or perceived ancestry, age, color, disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or association with a person or a group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics. For more information, please contact the Title IX/Equity Compliance Officer, Associate Superintendent of Personnel Support Services, Poway Unified School District, 15250 Avenue of Science, San Diego, CA 92128-3406, 858-521-2800, extension 2761. View Annual Notification of Parents’/Students’ Rights | Annual Notification of Employees’ Rights

POWAY UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT | 15250 Avenue of Science, San Diego, CA 92128 | (858) 521-2800