Early Intervention & Special Education
Increasingly, parents and pediatricians are recognizing children with learning differences or delays. In 1992, Governor Cuomo signed the Early Intervention Bill which requires localities to offer early intervention services to infants and toddlers identified for support. Early intervention reduces the likelihood of delays among at-risk children and assists and empowers families to meet their child's and their own needs. There are many facilities specializing in early intervention programs located throughout New York.
When and where to begin the process?
If you notice that your child is not developing skills such as walking, talking or playing like other young children, you may want to speak to your child's pediatrician. If the doctor is concerned or you are still uncomfortable with your child's progress, you may make a referral to your school district's Committee on Preschool Special Education. This referral initiates a process that may lead to your child receiving an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to meet your child's special needs.
You may also want to review the below resources for additional information.
- A Parents' Guide to Special Education in New York City and the Metropolitan area, by Laurie Dubos and Jana Fromer
To find resources to support your child we recommend that you contact District 75, a division of the New York Citywide programs of the Department of Education established to provide appropriate standards-based educational programs with related support services for students with moderate to severe challenges. These support services are individualized and can be delivered in a small group and/or one-to-one setting.
Special Education District 75
400 First Avenue, New York 10010
A Parent's Guide For Special Education Services for School-Age Children provides information regarding how Individualized Education Programs (IEP's) are assigned and/or the process of getting an IEP. This guide also provides information for parents on the evaluation process, referral information, eligibility definition, planning for the transition from pre-school to school age placement, and planning for young adults.
How do you determine which type of school environment will best suit your child's needs?
Most importantly, you will want to determine which type of setting will provide your children with the best possible educational environment for personal growth. Families who have children with special needs should feel the philosophy of the school will provide an environment in which their children will thrive. Strong support from the director(s), faculty and support teams should be evident, as well as open and direct communication. Most often families will take guidance on school placement from those who have tested their children and know the particular areas that need attention.
Considerations and questions:
- What training and experience do providers have?
- What method of teaching is being used at the school?
- What is the ratio of students/teachers?
- How are transitions for parents and students handled?
- Will my child "fit in" with other students attending?
- How is discipline handled?
- Is the provider's tone positive?
- Is there a reward system and how is this handled?
- Are there at-home visits?
- Are there educational classes for parents or parent groups?
- Who handles medication, if necessary?
- What is the cost to a parent?
- Is there financial aid?
- Is this site a NYC approved site for funding?
- Where do children go after leaving this school site?
- Does the school provide counseling for future school placement?
- How many months of the year is this program?
- Is busing provided?
- Interagency Council of Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities
- Jewish Community Center in Manhattan
- Museum Access Consortium
- New York University Child Study Center
- New York City Department of Education District 75: Support for Special Education Students
- New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Early Intervention Services
- Parent's Guide to Special Education Services for School-Age Children
- ARISE Coalition (Action for Reform in Special Education)
- YAI Network