Transferring to Preschool-Related Services
If your child is between the ages of three and five years of age and you currently have concerns for the way they speak or use their words to communicate, walk, jump, climb, navigate the playground, hold their crayons, complete puzzles, or socialize with their peers, then this article can help!
Each local school district has a preschool department comprised of a committee known as the Committee of Preschool Special Education (CPSE). This committee oversees evaluations and services to children three to five years of age who have or are suspected of having a delay in development. Services provided are based upon the individual needs of the child. CPSE covers evaluations and services for speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy and psychological services. This process is of no out-of-pocket cost to you and it is a voluntary program.
To get started, you will need to register your child at your school district. The committee has thirty days to complete the evaluations and provide you with a meeting to discuss the evaluations and possible services. The first step is to call your school district to find out where to register your child. Every district uses a different building for their preschool department. When you call them, they will tell you what you need to bring with you the day you register your child. They will always ask for your child’s birth certificate, Social Security card and proof of residency. Some may ask for additional information as well.
Once you are registered, the process will take about 30 school days. They will ask what concerns you have for your child and what evaluations are available to you. All children receive a psychological evaluation and social history. Your child can also receive an occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech evaluation, depending on the concerns you have for them. The school will provide you with a list of all eligible agencies that can administer the evaluations for you; the school district itself does not conduct the evaluations. Once you have chosen your evaluator and the evaluations are completed, you will then meet with the committee and discuss what services, if any, your child may receive.
If your child is eligible for services, you will schedule a meeting with the CPSE. You will discuss what services are available to your child and how many days a week and for how long the services will be. The committee, along with the evaluators and yourself, will write up a plan of goals individualized for your child’s needs for the upcoming months. This is called an individualized education plan (IEP). Every spring, you will meet again to discuss your child’s progress at an annual review meeting and this will determine if summer and fall services for the following year will be necessary. This will continue until your child enters kindergarten.
If you are in the early intervention program, you can ask your ongoing service coordinator or early intervention official designee (EIOD) for assistance. You will most likely have a transition meeting with your ongoing service coordinator around the time your child is turning two to sign the paperwork to let your school district know that you have a child in early intervention. You can then think and speak about the possibilities of registering your child for preschool services. Your coordinator will also go over everything you need to know about the process. If your child is born between September and August, you will have the option to stay in early intervention until August 31st and transitioning in the fall. If your child is born between September and December, you can stay in early intervention until December 31st and transition in January. You will discuss all your options at the meeting. If you ever have any questions regarding CPSE services or the process, you can always call The Therapy Center for Children at 631-207-1053 for information.