Special Education Process
Initial Referral for Special Education Services
Students who are suspected of having a disability are referred to a multidisciplinary team called the Committee on Special Education or the Committee on Preschool Education.
Who can refer a student?
A parent, teacher, or administrator can refer a student.
Who should a parent or teacher call to make a referral or start the process?
For school-age students, the parents/guardians or staff member should call the building psychologist of that student. For preschool students please call (516) 992-7480.
Individual Evaluation Process
The Committee arranges for an evaluation of the student’s abilities and needs.
Determining Eligibility for Special Education Services
The Committee meets and makes a determination of the student’s eligibility to receive special education services and programs based on the test and evaluation results.
Who makes up the Committee?
The Committee is made up of the Committee for Special Education (CSE) or Committee for Preschool Education (CPSE) chairperson, the student’s parents, the psychologist, the classroom teacher, school administrators, and relevant professionals, such as speech pathologist, occupational therapist, and physical therapist.
How is the CSE/CPSE meeting scheduled?
The CSE meeting is scheduled after all evaluations are completed and within 60 days of the initial evaluation. A date is scheduled and all professionals and student’s parents are notified.
Individual Education Program (IEP)
If the student is determined to be eligible to receive special education services by the Committee, the Committee develops and implements an appropriate IEP (Individual Educational Plan) based on the evaluation results. This plan is designed to meet the needs of the individual student. Based on the IEP, the Committee must determine the student’s placement, ensuring that the services are provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Placement must be as close as possible to the student’s home, and unless the student’s IEP requires some other arrangement, the student must be educated in the school he or she would have attended if not disabled. The services that a student receives is determined from the testing is based on the continuum of services as indicated.
What is a Section 504 Plan?
A 504 plan refers to a “physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities. This can include physical impairments; illnesses or injuries; communicable diseases; and chronic conditions like asthma, allergies, and diabetes. The 504 plan spells out the modifications and accommodations that will be needed for the student to have an opportunity to perform at the same level as their peers and might include wheelchair ramps, blood sugar monitoring, an extra set of textbooks, a peanut-free lunch environment, home instruction or a recorder or note-taking device.
What is the difference between an IEP and a 504 Plan?
Not all students who have disabilities require specialized instruction. For students with disabilities who do require specialized instruction, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) controls the procedural requirements.
For students with disabilities who do not require specialized instruction but need the assurance that they will receive equal access to public education and services, a document called the 504 plan is created to outline the student’s specific requirements. Students who have a 504 plan and do not require specialized instruction will not have an IEP. The 504 plan will be updated annually to ensure that the student is receiving the most effective accommodations for his/her specific circumstances to enable that student-specific modification and accommodations to ensure equal access to the educational environment.
The IEP is reviewed and, if needed, modified or revised by the Committee at least once a year (annual review). The student has a reevaluation at least once every three years (tri-annual), to review the student’s need for special education programs and services and to revise the IEP, as appropriate. A reevaluation may also occur when conditions warrant or when requested by a parent or teacher.
The process occurs sequentially with each step building on the previous one. In this way, comprehensive information about the student is obtained and considered. Timelines are in place so that delays are avoided. Parents are an integral part of this process, and your involvement is encouraged.
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