To access special education for your 3-5 year old child, you need to make a referral to the Committee on Preschool Education in the school district where the child lives. Learn more about how to get your child enrolled, and what to expect in the process.
Referrals for preschool age children (ages 3-5) must be made in writing to the Committee on Preschool Education (CPSE) in the school district where the child lives. The CPSE is part of the Committee on Special Education (CSE). The letter should be addressed to the CSE Chairperson. A list of CSE chairpersons and their contact information can be found here.
The referral should list the child’s name, date of birth and address, and should contain contact information for the child’s parents. It should also talk about any specific concerns you have about the child’s development.
After a referral is made, the CPSE will send a packet with consent forms and evaluation sites to the child’s parent. The parent must choose an evaluation site and call to make an appointment. At the first appointment, the parent will sign consent for evaluations. When the evaluations are done, there will be a meeting to write an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP describes the services that the child needs.
The CPSE has 60 school days from the date the child’s parent signs consent to evaluate the child and put all services in place.
Preschool age children receive the following evaluations:
The parent or person who made the referral can ask for other evaluations such as Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Functional Behavior Assessment, etc.
Children are eligible for Preschool Special Education if:
Ask the CPSE to look for a program outside of your region. If there are no placements in the entire city, ask to have the child placed on the Awaiting Placement Notification List (PN List). The CPSE should also write a partial service plan so that the child receives some services until a placement is found.
Contact the Committee on Preschool Special Education in the district where you live.
The information in this document has been prepared by The Legal Aid Society for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. You should not act upon any information without retaining professional legal counsel.
Last Updated: 18 September 2019
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