Blog author: Kate Lieberman, Director of Preschool & Non-Contract Services
The guide is meant for both parents and preschool (age 3-5) general education teachers from NYC.
updated on 11/9/2022
When a parent has any type of concern that impacts their preschool child’s learning, they should contact the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) of their local school district. If you don't know your school district, visit this NYC DOE webpage to find out. Children may be eligible for preschool special education services during the year in which they turn three through the end of the school year in which they turn five. Upon receipt of your written referral, the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) will provide you with a referral packet containing a “Consent for Initial Evaluation Form (C-1P)” and a list of approved evaluation sites. You can choose a site from the list and set up the initial evaluation. A preschool evaluation assesses the five areas of development:
If a child is exposed to any language in addition to English, they must have their evaluations done bilingually to truthfully reflect the student’s present level.
Picture caption: CPSE Eval Timeline – Agency Workflow (for parents)
Once a parent reaches out to our Preschool Evaluations Team, they will be assigned a case coordinator who will conduct an intake - discussing parent’s concern as well as school and other personal information about the child. There are also documents such as an updated physical examination form and a copy of a birth certificate that are needed, in order for the evaluations to begin. The first evaluation is always the Psychological Evaluation conducted by one of our licensed psychologists. The psychologist will also conduct the Social History update while seeing the child. They test the child’s IQ, and decide if there should be further evaluations done by physical therapists, occupational therapists, or speech pathologists. Then, the case coordinator requests approval from the district for these further evals and once received, the coordinators can assign the additional therapists along with the Special Education Itinerant Teacher. The SEIT is responsible for conducting the Educational Evaluation and Classroom Observation if the student is attending any type of preschool or daycare. Having different evaluations on different days by different therapists benefits the child since children have good days and bad days and relate differently to different types of people.
Once all of the testing is completed, the parent and district are sent the evaluations and the CPSE District Administrator from the Department of Education (DOE) sets up the Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting. At the meeting, there will be a Representative from the Evaluation Agency to go over the test results and answer any questions. The purpose of the meeting is to go over the evaluation results and for the CPSE District Administrator to determine whether your child is an eligible "preschool student with a disability.” If you child is eligible, your CPSE District Administrator will recommend the program or services to meet your child’s individual needs and where / how often / how long they will be provided. A parent never has to sign off on the recommendation if they do not agree, they always have the right to appeal the decision.
The results are interpreted by comparing the child’s scores to other children with the same birthday. That is how they calculate a child’s “percentage delay”. A moderate delay is having a 25% delay. A severe delay is 33% or more. In order for a preschool student to qualify for services, they must have a 25% delay in two areas or a 33% delay in one area. Then, there are different levels of support that may be offered depending on the child’s individual strengths and needs. The CPSE must consider how to provide the services in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE), where your child can learn close to your home with other children of the same age who do not have disabilities. Some children may not have a delay at all, maybe they just need some catching up, or some confidence or a different teaching style. These children would not qualify for services.
A child may only need support from Related Services (Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, Assistive Technology, Parent Education and Counseling), but some children need Special Education support. These services are provided free of charge to eligible children.
Keeping Least Restrictive Environment in mind, the lowest level of Special Education support is a SEIT (Special Education Itinerant Teacher). The SEIT works with the child in their general education classroom, incorporating themselves into the classroom and working with the classroom teacher to share strategies and modifications for that individual student. They may work with a child for 5/10 hours per week.
The next level of Special Education is an Integrated/ICT Classroom. An ICT classroom is a combination of general education students and students with IEPs. There are two teachers in the classroom, one General Education Teacher and one Special Education Teacher. They work together on the general education curriculum, and the special education teacher modifies it as needed for the students with IEPS. Any further support is a Special Education Class, with only children with disabilities, led by a Special Education teacher and teacher assistants with smaller number of students (class of 8, class of 10, class of 12).
If a child receives any of the above services, they will also receive an IEP (Individualized Educational Program), a written statement of the plan to provide your child with a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in their Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). An IEP is a plan that discusses your child’s abilities and outlines the services that the New York City Department of Education (DOE) will provide free of charge to meet your child’s educational needs. The IEP will be a guide for any therapist to follow. It includes a PLOP (present levels of performance) with all assessment results and details about the child’s strengths and needs in the Academic, Social, and Motor areas. The IEP also has Goals for the therapists to work towards.
These are annual Goals (Long Term) for the child to work towards mastering. The Goals are made by the evaluators who assessed the child and base the goals on what the child was not able to achieve during testing. The Annual Goals are broken down into Short Term Objectives. The Short Term Objectives are like the steps towards achieving the Annual Goal. There is an annual IEP meeting if services are given. At the IEP meeting, one year after the initial evaluation, they determine if the child has met the goals and what goals should be added or modified. In between this time, the therapists are required to write quarterly reports on the child’s progress. Therefore, there are no “surprises” at the annual IEP meeting.
A lot of preschool (age 3-5) general education teachers are knowledgeable about different strategies used in special education, but many are unfamiliar with the “initial evaluation process” and what an important role the general education / classroom teacher plays.
The classroom teacher is an integral part of this whole process! The classroom teacher should always be included and try to participate in their student’s initial evaluation meeting. After all this is about the child’s capabilities in the classroom setting. The classroom teacher is with the child the most and can attest to what the child can and cannot do in a group/classroom setting. If a child in a gen ed classroom receives services, it is very important for there to be communication between the therapists, parents, and classroom teacher. This way, strategies can be carried over and consistent in all settings to help work towards student’s success. The General Education teacher can also incorporate the child’s goals into the everyday routine and lessons. For example, if the child has fine motor goals, the teacher can work on them when sitting with child during writing. Social goals like eye contact or asking for help can also be worked on during lunch and transition times like lining up for the bathroom. The most important part of it all is to work as a team and make sure all team members communicate to be sure everyone is on the same page for the child’s best interest!
Common Abbreviations during Evaluation Process:
|C-1P||Consent for Initial Evaluation / the Consent|
|C-2P||Consent for Reevaluation|
|COS||Child Outcome Summary|
|CPSE||Committee on Preschool Special Education (ages 3-5)|
|CSE||Committee on Special Education (ages 5-21)|
|DOE||Department of Education|
|E-1P||Preschool Student Evaluation Summary Report|
|ED||SEIT / educational evaluation|
|FAPE||Free and Appropriate Public Education|
|IEP||Individualized Education Program|
|LRE||Least Restrictive Environment|
|Ob||(ED) classroom observation / home observation|
|OT||occupational therapy / occupational therapist / occupational therapy evaluation|
|Physical||annual physical examination form / medical|
|PLOP||Present Levels of Performance|
|PRAC||Preschool Regional Assessment Center|
|PSY||psychologist / psychological evaluation|
|PT||physical therapy / physical therapist / physical therapy evaluation|
|REQ||Request for Additional Testing|
|SEIT||Special Education Itinerant Teacher|
|SP||speech / speech pathologist / speech evaluation|
Testing Materials & Related Abbreviations:
|5 areas/domains of development||cognitive, adaptive, social-emotional, speech and motor skills|
|Bayley or BSID||(PSY) Bayley Scales of Infant and Toddler Development|
|CARS-2||(PSY) Childhood Autism Rating Scale, Second Edition|
|DAYC-2||(ED) Developmental Assessment of Young Children, Second Edition|
|PDMS-2||(OT/PT) Peabody Developmental Motor Scales, Second Edition|
|PLS-5||(SP) Preschool Language Scales, Fifth Edition|
|SB-5||(PSY) Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition|
|Vineland-3||(PSY) Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Third Edition|
|WPPSI-IV||(PSY) Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence, Fourth Edition|