Parents who are trying to provide the best educational options for their special needs child often begin the process very early on. New York offers a variety of special education services for children who are eligible.
In order for special services to provide an individualized education program (IEP) for a disabled child, there are procedures and committees that are formed that involve parent input. Members of these committees may include the child’s special education as well as general education teachers, the school district representative and a school psychologist.
While the decisions made by these committees are not final, parents may face challenges making sure that the services provided are giving your child the best options they are entitled to receive. Understanding the process and what measures to take to ensure this is an important first step.
The CPSE process
A referral letter for evaluation of the child’s special needs must be sent in writing to the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) district administrator in order to begin the process. This resource is available to New York City residents through NYC Children’s Services.
When CPSE receives the referral letter, the administration will send out a notice of due process rights, consent forms and a list of evaluation sites where the parents must make an appointment.
The evaluation team will need several assessments, including reports of social history, educational and psychological evaluations. A CPSE meeting must take place within 45 days of receipt of referral by CPSE or within 30 school days of parents’ signed consent for the evaluation.
A specialized EIP is written that will encompass the child’s goals and recommended services. Recommended services or programs may also include speech, occupational or physical therapy, counseling services or parent education and training, assistive technology and transportation needs. The parent may still withdraw consent for CPSE services even after signing the consent forms.
Reviews of the IEP designed for the child will take place at least once a year. Parents may request that a CPSE meeting be held at any time in order to review special needs placement or services to the child.
The issues related to CPSE’s, CSE’s and IEP’s can be challenging and complex. Having a strong legal advocate to help you to take full advantage of the services your child is entitled to receive can make the process less frustrating, and also will help you to give your child the support he or she needs.