Preschool Students with Disabilites

 

What are the school districts’ responsibilities in regard to preschool special education?


School boards must adopt a written policy that establishes administrative practices and procedures to
ensure that each preschool child with a disability can participate in preschool programs approved by the
commissioner of education (8 NYCRR § 200.2(b)(2)). School districts, for instance, must identify,
evaluate, refer, place and review the placement of preschool children (ages three and four) with
disabilities, including children enrolled in Head Start programs (20 USC § 1400 et seq.; Educ. Law §
4410; 8 NYCRR §§ 200.2(a)(1), 200.16).


Every school board also must appoint and train qualified personnel to a committee on preschool
special education (CPSE), which makes recommendations on the identification, evaluation,
and appropriate services for these children (20 USC § 1413(a)(3); Educ. Law § 4410(3); 8 NYCRR §§
200.2(b)(3), 200.3(a)(2), 200.16(b)), and ensure the allocation of appropriate space within the district
for special education programs that meet the needs of preschool students with disabilities (8 NYCRR §
200.2(c)(2)(v)).


What types of services and programs must school districts provide to preschool children with
disabilities?


Preschool children with disabilities are entitled, for example, to special education itinerant services,
special classes in a half or full-day preschool program, and related services available to school-age
children with disabilities (Educ. Law § 4410(1)(j), (k); 8 NYCRR §§ 200.1(nn), 200.16(e)(3), (i)).
Prior to recommending any program, the committee on preschool special education should consider the
appropriateness of providing related services or special education itinerant services only, related
services in coordination with special education itinerant services, and a half-day or full-day program.
Special education services must be provided consistent with least restrictive environment requirements
(Educ. Law § 4410(5)(b)(i); 8 NYCRR § 200.16(e)(3), (i).


What is the difference between a committee on special education (CSE) and a committee on
preschool special education (CPSE)?


Generally, the CSE addresses the needs of school-age children with disabilities, while
the CPSE focuses on the needs of preschool children with disabilities. However, generally speaking,
parental rights and district responsibilities governing the CSE also apply to the CPSE.


A CSE and a CPSE also are made up of different members. The CPSE must include the following
members:


• The parent of the preschool child with a disability


• A regular education teacher (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education
environment)


• A special education teacher, or where appropriate, a special education provider of such child


• A representative of the school district who
(1) is qualified to provide or supervise special education;
(2) is knowledgeable about the general curriculum; and
(3) is knowledgeable about the availability of preschool special education programs and services
and other resources of the district and the municipality. This individual serves as the chairperson
of the committee


• A parent of a child with disabilities who resides in the district or a neighboring district and whose
child is enrolled in a preschool or elementary-level education program if specifically requested in
writing by the parent of the student or by a member of the committee at least 72 hours prior to the
meeting. The district must provide written notice to the parent of their right to have an additional
parent attend any meeting along with a statement from the state education department explaining the
role of having an additional parent member attend


• An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results. (This individual
may also be one of the above district team members or the school psychologist.)


• At the discretion of the parent or the district, other individuals who have knowledge or special
expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel


• For a child in transition from early intervention programs and services (infant and toddler programs),
the appropriate professional designated by the agency that has been charged with the responsibility
for the preschool child


An appropriately certified or licensed professional from the municipality where the child resides
should also attend; however, attendance of the appointee of the municipality is not required for a quorum
of the CPSE (Educ. Law § 4410(3)(a); 8 NYCRR § 200.3(a)(2). Specific responsibilities for each CSE and CPSE are set forth in the Education Law sections 4402 and 4410; and part 200 of the commissioner’s regulations.

 

 

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Angel A. Castro, III, Esq.

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New York, NY

10004 

 

 

Phone: (646) 234-3177
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