How will I
know if my preschool-age child needs special education?
child received early intervention services as an infant or
toddler up to age three, and may still need special education,
your service coordinator will assist you with transition
planning and making a referral to the Committee on Preschool
Special Education (CPSE).
If your preschool-age child (3-5 years old) did not receive
early intervention services, but has some delays or lags in
development such as difficulty in talking, moving around,
thinking, or learning or is facing physical or behavioral
challenges — you, or professionals who know your child, may make
a referral to the chairperson of your school district's
Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) who will assist
you in completing the referral process.
The CPSE must include: the parent of the child, a regular
education teacher (if the child is or may be participating in
the regular education environment), a special education teacher
or related service provider, a representative of the local
school district who serves as the chairperson of the CPSE, an
individual who can interpret evaluation results, other
individuals who have knowledge or special expertise about the
child, an additional parent member (unless the parent(s) of the
child request that this person not participate), and a licensed
or certified professional from the Department of Health’s Early
Intervention Program (for a child in transition from the Early
Intervention Program). A certified or licensed preschool
representative from the municipality must be notified of
scheduled meetings; however, the CPSE meetings can be held
whether or not the municipal representative attends.
The Evaluation Process
your child is referred to the CPSE, you will be given a list of
agencies approved by the State Education Department to provide
preschool special education evaluations. You will be asked to
select one of the approved evaluators, then sign a consent form
for your child to be evaluated at no cost to you or your family.
The CPSE will also give you a copy of the due process procedural
safeguards notice. If your child's evaluation is not timely or,
if you disagree with the evaluation results or the
recommendation of the CPSE, you have the right to ask for an
independent evaluation, mediation or an impartial hearing. A
copy of the evaluation report, including a summary of the
evaluation, will be provided to you and to other CPSE members.
You will be asked to meet with them to talk about the evaluation
results. If the CPSE finds your child is not eligible for
special education programs and/or services, you will be given
the reasons for the decision in writing.
How will my child receive
special education programs and services?
The CPSE Recommendation and the Individual Education Program (IEP)
If your child has a disability that may be affecting his or her
learning, the CPSE will find your child to be an eligible
"preschool student with a disability.” The CPSE will also
recommend the program or services to meet your child’s
individual needs and where they will be provided. If your child
is an eligible preschool student with a disability, you and the
other CPSE members will write an Individualized Education
Program (IEP) for your child that will list the recommended
services to be provided, how often, and for how long. The
recommendations will be forwarded to your local school district
Board of Education for approval. Most children with disabilities
can receive the special education services they need in settings
with their non-disabled peers. They also should participate in
developmentally appropriate activities. 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. Services
may be provided at an approved or licensed pre-kindergarten or
Head Start program, the work-site of a provider, the student's
home, a hospital, a State facility or a child care location.