According to research, learning and development are at their highest rate in the preschool years so it is no surprise when parents have concerns about a child’s development. Parents may suspect language delays, clumsiness, difficulty thinking or learning or physical or behavioral challenges that are interfering with a child’s development. Parents may want to consider contacting the Mid-Hudson Early Childhood Direction Center (ECDC) to review those concerns. After discussion and a review of researched based information on child development, a parent may decide the development is appropriate for the child’s age or she/he may decide to have the child evaluated by the Committee on Preschool Special Education to determine if the conditions adversely affect the child’s ability to learn.
Preschool Special Education Individual or Group Instructional Services
Preschool Special Education provides specially planned individual or group instructional services or programs for eligible children, from ages 3 – 5 years, who have a delay or disability that affects their learning. These services are funded by local municipalities as well as by state funds and are provided at no cost to the family. A multi-disciplinary evaluation can be completed through the school district of residence’s Committee on Preschool Special Education to determine a delay or disability and is provided at no cost to the parent.
Early Childhood Development Evaluation Agency
Parents can make a referral directly to the school district’s Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) or can contact the Early Childhood Direction Center for guidance on the process. It is important to register the child with the school district before or during the process. Once a referral is received by the school district, an information package with a list of approved evaluation sites, Parent’s Rights and a Consent Form will be sent to the parent. The parent will then choose an evaluation agency from the list, indicate the name of the evaluation agency on the Consent, sign and return the form to the school district. Guidance for choosing an appropriate evaluation site can be obtained by speaking with staff from the Early Childhood Direction Center. The process of evaluation and determination of eligibility for services begins upon receipt of the Consent Form and must be completed within 60 calendar days.
Children who are found eligible for preschool special education benefit from the individualized program. They demonstrated significant and often sizable benefits in at least one of the following domains: cognition and academic achievement, behavioral and emotional competencies, educational progression and attainment. In some cases, the improved outcomes in these domains were demonstrated soon after the program ended; in other cases, the favorable impacts were observed through adolescence and in the transition to adulthood.
Referring a child for a preschool special education evaluation often raises mixed emotions and sometimes fear and confusion. Parents can find support and guidance from the knowledgeable staff at the Early Childhood Direction Center who are always available to help!