Special education is a system of services and support- including individualized instruction, supplemental aids, assistive technology, transitional support services and related services that young children with disabilities have a right to receive according to IDEA.
In New York, the special education system is divided into two parts: Preschool Special Education and Special Education. All special education services are delivered by the child's local school district. In New York City, the Committees on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) are organized into Regional Offices, which oversee special education services for children age 3-5 in each local school district. Some three year olds may transition to CPSE from Early Intervention, and other preschool age children are newly referred for special education services. When a child receiving CPSE services is eligible to begin Kindergarten according to birth year, the child may transition to the Committee on Special Education (CSE). In NYC this is commonly referred to as the 'Turning 5' process. Children can be referred to the CPSE or CSE for evaluation even if they have never been previously diagnosed or received special education services in the past.
If a child is suspected of having a disability, he or she is referred to the appropriate agency for a free diagnostic evaluation performed by a multidisciplinary team.
If the child is an infant or toddler (birth to two years of age) he or she is referred to the Early Intervention Program. If the child is 3 years old or older the parent, teacher, doctor, or other professional from an Early Childhood program or agency may refer him to the Committee on Preschool Special Education that arranges an evaluation of his or her abilities and needs. Based on those results, the Committee decides if the child is eligible for special education services.
To locate your local CPSE or CSE office, please refer to: http://schools.nyc.gov/SchoolSearch/Maps.aspx
Upon referral, the CPSE or CSE Regional Office will then assist families in locating an evaluation site and provide parents with information about the special education referral and evaluation process. There is generally a 60-day timeline from the referral to the completion of the evaluation
Upon parental consent, the Committee (CSE or CPSE) assists parents in locating an evaluation site. The selected evaluation site then arranges for an interdisciplinary team to evaluate the child using a variety of assessment tools and strategies that determine the type of disability and how it affects the youngster’s learning process.
The initial evaluation can include:
The evaluation site provides the family, the child’s current school (if any), and the CPSE/CSE with the results of the interdisciplinary evaluations for review. Based on the results of these evaluations, the Committee decides if the child is eligible for special education services.
A child may be deemed eligible for Special Education services, if the formal testing results determine that the child meets established criteria for any one of the Federal Disability Categories, as described in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The local CPSE/CSE will notify families of their child’s eligibility upon the conclusion of the evaluation process.
Once the IEP is created, the CPSE/CSE will locate the services for the child as indicated on the IEP. If the child is already attending a DOE school, the CPSE/CSE will alert the School Based Support Team or other school personnel of the accommodations authorized for the child in the newly developed IEP. Parents have the right to have their child receive services in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). The LRE is a setting that gives a child with disabilities the opportunity to work and learn to his or her maximum ability with non-disabled peers to the extent possible. There are no cost for services provided through the DOE.
Natural, inclusive and LRE settings include:
There are a wide variety of developmental disabilities and other conditions that affect the development and learning of young children. Under IDEA there are 14 recognized categories of disability.
Children receiving services through CPSE are all categorized as a “Preschooler with a Disability” and are not given a specific classification on the IEP.
For further reading: http://nichcy.org/disability/categories