How do I get my child in the 3-5 year old program?

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Transition from Early Intervention:

Beginning in the school year that your child is turning 3 years old, the Early Intervention case manager will set up a meeting with your child's Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) at your local school or district to discuss your child's transition from Early Intervention to the 3-5 year old preschool program.   If you don't already know what district you're in, you can find it by using your address at the NYC Dept. of Education website.

The local school or district will set the date for the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) meeting.   They will then set a timetable for all the necessary evaluations to be completed in time for the Committee to properly evaluate what services and programs are needed for your child.

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What if my child was not in Early Intervention?

If your child was not in Early Intervention you, your child's doctor, teacher or anyone else who thinks your child may have some developmental delay can call the local school or school district to have your child evaluated.     The school district will arrange the appropriate evaluations to determine what services may be necessary to help your child.

Criteria for Acceptance to the 3-5 year old program:

Preschool children may be entitled to special services based on mental, physical or emotional reasons.   The Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) will conduct an evaluation in your child's native language to see if your child has a significant delay or disorder in cognitive, language and communicative, adaptive, socio-emotional or motor development.   Specifically the Committee will be looking for indications of: Top of Page

Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE):

The Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) is the committee which meets to determine the classification, needs and services for your child.   The committee will have at least: The findings and determinations of the CPSE lead to the development of your child's Individual Education Plan (IEP).   Anything not in the IEP will not be required to be provided for your child.   Because of the importance of this plan to your child's education, don't let the people at the meeting convince you to accept less services than you think your child needs.   Make your wishes known.   You have a right to bring someone with you to the meeting.   If you think that you may have trouble speaking up at the meeting, bring a family member or friend to speak up for you.

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What type of services should I request?

The following services are available at the preschool level: Ask for every service you believe will help your child.   Before going to the meeting, write down each service you want to ask for so that you don't forget any or get caught up only in the most important services.

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Transition to the school age program:

Preschool services will have been provided either in your home, a preschool or other formal setting.   Transitioning to the school age program will most likely mean that your child will go to the local public school kindergarten or a special program in the local public. school.   You should investigate the best possible settings for your child as early as possible.   Meet with the local school or district and go over all of the the potential placements and services.   It's very helpful to sit in on actual classes where your child may be placed and speak to the parents of kids who have attended these programs.   Parents of children with special needs are usually very willing to talk to other parents and can be the best way to find out about a program where your child may be placed.   The more work you do before the Committee on Special Education (CSE) meeting, the more likely you are to get what you think is best for your child.

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Using Child Find.

Each State must operate comprehensive systems of child find in order to identify, locate and evaluate children with disabilities in need of special education and related services.   This is called "Child Find". You should note that the word "Find" is important. It means that the government not only has to service a child in need of servies, but they must have programs to find children in need of these services.   Before children are old enough to attend public school it's not uncommon for a babysitter, daycare provider, or preschool staff to express concern to you about developmental or learning delays. They may suggest that you contact the appropriate agency to have your child screened to determine whether your child should be referred for a full evaluation to determine eligibility for special education and related services.   Child Find has an excellent website that gives you lots of information about every step of getting your child needed services.