Children aged three (3) to five (5) served by the Preschool Special Education Program are evaluated in conjunction with their local school district. Children are referred to the school district’s Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) if they are suspected of having a disability that impairs their learning and development. Numerous sources such as parents, professionals, caregivers, program providers, or other individuals concerned about the child’s development make referrals. The early intervention official upon parental consent may refer children transitioning from the Department of Health’s Early Intervention Program. The evaluation of the preschool child requires information gathering and for individually administered assessments and behavioral observations to be conducted to determine the physical, mental, behavioral and emotional factors that contribute to the suspected disability. Once the evaluation takes place, it is determined if the child meets the eligibility requirements. Once the child is deemed eligible for special education services and/or programs, the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE), which is housed in each school district, meets to develop a plan to meet the child’s unique needs, in accordance with Part 200 of the New York State Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. The Committee must include: the parent of the child, a regular education teacher (if the child is or may be participating in the regular education environment), a special education teacher or related service provider, a representative of the local school district who serves as the chairperson of the CPSE, an individual who can interpret evaluation results, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise about the child, an additional parent member (unless the parent(s) of the child request that this person not participate), and a licensed or certified professional from the Department of Health’s Early Intervention Program (for a child in transition from the Early Intervention Program). A certified or licensed preschool representative from the municipality must be notified of scheduled meetings and will attend the meetings as well.
The plan which is developed is called the Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP development process must consider:
- The child’s strengths
- The family’s concerns for their child’s education
- The results of the child’s individual evaluation
- The results of any other State or district wide tests or assessments; and
- Any unique needs related to the child’s disability (such as communication needs, behavior, etc.)
Educational services are at no charge to the family. These services may include:
- Related services (such as speech therapy)
- Special education itinerant services
- A half-day preschool program
- A full-day preschool program
- A twelve (12) month special service and/or program or
- An in-state residential special education program
Before recommending that special education services are provided in a setting, which includes only preschool children with disabilities, the CPSE chair must first consider providing special education services in a setting where age-appropriate peers without disabilities are typically found.
The State Education Department is the lead agency for the implementation of Part B of the Federal Regulations.
A link to their website follows: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/preschool/home.html
Included on the website are Key Publications related to Preschool Students with disabilities which includes a variety of helpful topics for parents and providers and other interested parties.
For a referral to the Preschool Special Education Program, contact the CPSE office of the school district that you reside in:
Akron Central School District Phone: (716) 542-5077
Barker Central School District Phone: (716) 795-3362
Lewiston Porter Central School District Phone: (716) 286-7248 or (716) 286-7249
Lockport City School District Phone: (716) 478-4825
Newfane Central School District Pone: (716) 778-6457
Niagara Falls City School District Phone: (716) 286-4280
Niagara Wheatfield Central School District Phone: (716) 215-3013
North Tonawanda City School District Phone: (716) 807-3560
Royalton-Hartland Central School District Phone: (716) 735-2025
Starpoint Central School District Phone: (716) 210-2322 or (716) 210-2324
Wilson Central School District Phone: (716) 751-9341 ext. 130
Links to our other programs: