After your child graduates from Early Intervention, they will enter the CPSE program.
CPSE = Committee on Pre-school Education
What is Special Education?
Special Education means specially designed individualized or group instruction or special services or programs to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. Special Education services and programs are provided at no cost to the parent.
How to Begin
When your child is no longer eligible for Early Intervention Services your early intervention service coordinator will speak with you about the options for your child going forward. This discussion will most likely occur at the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meeting that is closest to your child’s second birthday and should definitely occur before your child is two and a half years old. A transition plan will then be included in your child’s IFFSP.
One of the options that you may select for your child is a written referral to the New York City Department of Education (DOE) local Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE). This referral will be used to request an evaluation to best determine if your child is eligible for preschool special education services.
*This evaluation as well as any other recommended preschool education services will be provided at no cost to you.
The first age of eligibility for preschool special education services are children who turn three between January 1st and June 30th. They become eligible on January 2nd of the year that they turn three years old. Children who turn three between July 1st and December 31st become eligible for preschool special education services on July 1st of the year that they turn three years old. To continue receiving early intervention services past your child’s third birthday, the CPSE must first determine whether or not your child meets the eligibility criteria in order to receive preschool special education services. This must occur before your child’s third birthday. If your child is determined eligible for services by the CPSE, children who turn three years old between January 1st and August 31st can remain in the early intervention program until August 31st of the year they turn three years old. If your child is determined eligible for services by the CPSE, children who turn three years old between September 1st and December 31st can remain in early intervention until December 31st of the year they turn three years old.
The NYC Early Intervention Program will send a written notification to the CPSE of your child’s potential transition to the preschool special education system 120 calendar days prior to your child’s first age eligibility for preschool special education services. This notification will occur as long as you haven’t declined in writing (opt-out). Your service coordinator will work with you and give you the opt-out form to sign 150 calendar days before your child’s first age of eligibility for preschool special education services.
If you are unsure whether or not to refer your child to CPSE, or if you would like more information about the CPSE process, please contact your service coordinator to arrange for a transition conference between you, the Early Intervention Official Designee (EIOD), the CPSE Administrator (a NYC DOE representative), and your service coordinator. A written consent to your service coordinator to request a transition conference must be made no later than 90 days prior to your child’s first eligibility for preschool special education services. This conference can also take place as early as the IFSP meeting that is closest to your child’s second birthday.
If you are looking to refer your child to the CPSE, your service coordinator can assist you in writing the referral letter and then mail it to the CPSE on your behalf (certified, return receipt is recommended so that you have a record that the referral has been received). The referral must be made no later than 90 calendar days before your child’s third birthday. Some families make the choice to refer their child to the CPSE so that, if eligible, their child may begin preschool special education services at the earliest possible date. In this case, the written referral can be sent as early as 120 calendar days before the date of your child’s first potential preschool special education age of eligibility.
Once having received the receipt of your referral letter, the CPSE Administrator will immediately send you a packet of information that includes an explanation of your due process rights, the consent for evaluation form, and a list of the New York State Education Department (SED) approved preschool special education evaluation sites. This packet will also contain a medical form that must be completed by your child’s pediatrician and then submitted to whichever evaluation site that you have chosen.
Your child’s current early intervention provider may or may not be an approved preschool special education evaluation site. When you receive the packet, you should try to select an evaluation site and schedule an appointment as soon as possible. If you need any assistance in choosing an evaluation site, you can always contact your early intervention service coordinator, the CPSE Administrator, or the Early Childhood Direction Center (ECDC) in your borough (contact information located on the bottom of this page).
Due Process Rights
New York State and Federal laws guarantee that parents and families of children who are receiving or being evaluated for special education services have legal rights. These rights are all included in the packet of information from the CPSE Administrator. These rights will be explained to you more thoroughly before you first ever sign consent to have your child evaluated.
Do not sign the consent form before your first in-person meeting with the evaluation site.
If you have any questions at all about your rights, you can ask the evaluation site staff member who is working with you, the CPSE Administrator, or the ECDC in your borough.
For children in foster care, your early intervention service coordinator will notify the Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) case planner as well as the foster care agency caseworker of the child’s transition from the early intervention program.
It is extremely important that the CPSE Administrator as well as the preschool special education evaluation site are in contact with the child’s foster care agency caseworker in order to determine whether or not a surrogate parent will need to be appointed.
It is a parent’s responsibility to select an evaluation site from the list in the packet and promptly call to schedule an appointment with whichever site you have chosen. You must bring the consent for evaluation form with you to your first meeting at the evaluation site of your choice.
After your due process rights have been explained to you in detail, if you wish to have your child evaluated, you must then sign the consent form. In some cases, the CPSE Administrator might be the person to obtain the written consent from you. You may also withdraw your consent for evaluation, in writing, at any time during the process, as long as it is before the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is developed. In your first meeting with the evaluation site representative, you will be asked to answer questions in order to determine if your child’s evaluation will need to be performed in a language(s) other than English.
Your child’s evaluation will include a social history interview with you, a psychological evaluation, as well as a physical examination (in most cases you will be given a form that must be filled out by the child’s pediatrician). Other evaluations may be performed if necessary to determine whether or not your child has an education disability. Some examples of additional evaluations consist of speech and occupational or physical therapies.
If your child’s behavior tends to interfere with learning, you can request a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA). As long as your permission is given, the preschool evaluation site will determine if your child’s most recent evaluations from the early intervention services can be used. You may also choose to submit any other evaluations that your child has previously had. In addition to that, an observation of your child by a member of the evaluation team will occur. Once this has been completed all of the evaluations are then forwarded, to the CPSE Administrator by the evaluation site.
The CPSE Administrator will then review the results of the evaluations and schedule a CPSE meeting to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for your child. Before the CPSE meeting, the evaluation site may go over the results of the evaluation with you. The CPSE Administrator will mail you a short summary of the results of the evaluations. The summary will be in your dominant language and will include a notification of the time and date of your child’s CPSE meeting.
You have the right to receive a copy of the complete evaluations prior to the CPSE meeting. If you would like to have copies of the entire evaluation, you must request them in writing from the CPSE Administrator. If you would like to take part in the meeting, but for some reason are unable to attend on the scheduled date and time, you must inform the CPSE Administrator of your desire to attend the meeting and then request to have it rescheduled. If you do not do this in time, the meeting can take place without you. The meeting is required to take place within 60 calendar days from the date you signed on the consent to evaluate form.
Committee on Preschool Special Education Meeting
At the CPSE meeting, the services, if any, that are available to your child will be determined. A CPSE team consisting of a general education teacher, a special education teacher or related service provider, the CPSE Administrator, and a professional who can interpret the instructional implications of the evaluation results are all supposed to be present with you at this meeting.
If your child receives early intervention services, you may request to the CPSE that your child’s service coordinator attend the meeting. A CPSE Parent Member (the parent of another child who is receiving special education services) may also attend the meeting with you, as well as any other member of the CPSE. However, you must request their attendance 72 hours prior to the meeting. If you wish to, you may also bring other individuals with you, such as friends, family members, a representative of the evaluation site, an advocate, a physician, etc.
The evaluations will all be reviewed in order to determine whether or not your child meets the eligibility criterion that has been established by the New York State Education Department. The eligibility criteria for preschool special education services are similar to the eligibility criteria for early intervention services. However the types and amounts of services recommended vary depending on the early intervention services that your child receives. If your child does not meet the eligibility criteria, an IEP will not be developed and his/her early intervention services will end on the day before your child’s third birthday.
If you disagree with any of the eligibility determination, you may request in writing to the CPSE Administrator for an additional evaluation(s). If your child is considered eligible to receive preschool special education services, then he/she will be classified as a Preschool Child with a Disability and an IEP will then be completed. The IEP will include short and long term goals and aspirations, recommened preschool special education services and adaptive equipment (if needed). If transportation is required, including any special transportation requirements, it must be documented on the IEP.
The meeting will consist of a discussion about your child’s needs and how they can be met in the least restrictive environment (LRE). A recommendation will then be made for preschool special education services based on the SED’s approved service models (described below). If your child is recommended to receive related services (RS) and/or special education itinerant teacher services
(SEIT), and you also want your child to attend an early childhood education program, it is your responsibility to locate, enroll, and pay for the early childhood program. The recommended services and/or special education itinerant teacher services will be provided at no cost to you. At the meeting, there will be a discussion about whether or not your child requires these services for either a ten or twelve month period (school calendar). In addition, the Child Outcome Survey form (which includes information on your child’s development) will be reviewed with you.
Continuum of Services for Preschool Children with Disabilities
The level of service that is obtainable for the needs of your child’s special education will be discussed during the IEP meeting. Below is a brief description of the options that are currently available in New York State, listed in order of what is considered the least restrictive to the most restrictive environments.
Related Services (RS) are services provided by an appropriately certified or licensed professional. Examples include, but are not limited to, speech therapy (ST), physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), audiology, counseling services, parent counseling and education, school social work, vision education services and hearing education services. If two or more related services are recommended, the CPSE Administrator will designate one of the related service providers as the coordinator.
Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) services are provided by a certified special education teacher who travels to your child to provide services. The SEIT is an employee of an SED approved preschool special education program. If SEIT services and one or more related services are recommended, the SEIT serves as the coordinator of all the services. SEIT services must be provided at least two hours per week.
Related Services and SEIT may be provided at a location including, but not limited to, an approved or licensed pre-kindergarten, Head Start program, childcare location, therapist’s office or your home.
Special Class in an Integrated Setting (SCIS) is provided by an SED approved preschool special education program and includes both children with and without disabilities. The classroom staff includes at least one special education teacher and one paraprofessional; other early childhood education teachers and paraprofessionals may also work in the classroom. Each child in this type of program receives services for a minimum of 2 1/2 hours per day. Children approved for a special class in an integrated setting may also receive related services as part of their program.
Special Class (SC) is provided by an SED approved preschool special education program. All the children in this type of class are classified as preschool children with disabilities. Each child in this type of program receives services for at least 2 1/2 hours per day. Children approved for a special class may also receive related services as part of their program.
Residential Program is a special education program that is provided for a minimum of five hours per day, five days a week by an SED approved preschool special education program within a residential twenty-four hour a day setting. Children approved for a residential program may also receive related services. Placement in a residential program must be approved by the New York State Commissioner of Education.
Approval of Preschool Special Education Services
At the CPSE meeting you will be asked to sign an attendance form, and if you agree with the recommendations, you will then be asked to sign the consent for services form. If your child is deemed eligible to receive preschool special education services, you might choose instead to continue your child’s early intervention services until he/she ages out of the early intervention system. If so, you will then be asked to sign a form indicating you choice. By choosing this option, the CPSE might decide to have another meeting in the future to again determine if the recommended services are still appropriate. Your child may not receive early intervention and preschool special education services at the same time.
If you do not choose to continue having your child in the early intervention until the last possible age of eligibility date, the CPSE Administrator can authorize the preschool special education services to begin no later than 30 school days from the day the IEP is developed. This also must be 60 school days within the time that you originally signed the consent to evaluate form. If the CPSE, for some reason, develops a recommendation for special education services and those services are unavailable, the CPSE can offer partial service options until the recommended services become available.
If you did not attend to the CPSE meeting, the services will be sent to you via mail. Services may not begin without your written consent.
If you do not agree with the recommendations and are unable to resolve the issue at the CPSE meeting, you may request, in writing, mediation and/or an impartial hearing. An impartial hearing will consist of a more formal and legally binding process. If you need any additional information on mediation and the impartial hearing process, you may contact the CPSE Administrator, the Early Childhood Direction Center in your borough, or one of the organizations listed below.
The Early Childhood Direction Centers (ECDC) is funded by the New York State Education Department and provides free confidential information, referral and support for families and professionals about services for young children with suspected or diagnosed developmental delays or disabilities. In New York City there is an Early Childhood Direction Center in each borough.
Early Childhood Direction Center
AHRC New York City
2488 Grand Concourse, Room 405
Bronx, NY 10458
Early Childhood Direction Center
United Cerebral Palsy of NYC, Inc.
160 Lawrence Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
Early Childhood Direction Center
Queens Center for Progress
82-25 164th Street
Jamaica, NY 11432
718-374-0002, ext. 465
Early Childhood Direction Center
New York Presbyterian Hospital
409 East 60th Street, #3-312
New York, NY 10022
Early Childhood Direction Center
Staten Island University Hospital
242 Mason Avenue, 1st Floor
Staten Island, NY 10305
In New York City, the following agencies also provide information, referral and advocacy assistance to families of children with special needs:
Advocates for Children of New York
Parent to Parent of New York State
Resources for Children with Special Needs
United We Stand of New York
The New York State Education Department Special Education Parent Centers provide information and training.