Trying to understand preschool process for toddler on spectrum

My toddler is currently 2yr 3 mos and behind in development in communication and social/personal. We're getting some services through the regional center already (made a ton of progress in last few months). He was recently evaluated by a developmental pediatrician at UCSF and she said he would likely meet the criteria for being on the spectrum and we are in process of scheduling the ADOS for him (which could give him the ASD diagnoses), which would likely not occur until January 2023 given all the lag with scheduling.

He is currently enrolled in a Chinese immersion preschool since September this fall, his neurotypical sister attends the same school. He is happy at the school, has adapted to all the routines, and has started to be able to focus for a few minutes of circle time each day. I'm not sure how I would assess whether this school is a good fit for him based on his needs (we enrolled him in it before we even realize he was behind in milestones).

I am now wondering what I need to be doing to understand the public school process for him (I think he could potentially qualify for public preschool starting fall 2023 because he turns 3 in Aug 23) and what the big decisions I'll need to make are.

  • Any other parents can share how they weigh the pros and cons of public vs. private preschools?
  • How can I learn about the IEP process?
  • Which of the public school districts Oakland, Berkeley, Piedmont, Orinda, etc. have the best support for kids like him?
  • Should I be visiting schools now? How will it be determined what support he needs?

Would love any insight/advice/resources from any parents that have gone down this path.

Thanks you

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