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Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE)

The steps to accessing services through the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) are established in New York State Education Law (4410) and the Commissioner's Regulations, and provide parents and their children with certain rights.

If a parent has concerns about their child's speech, language, learning, physical or behavioral development, they may refer their child to the CPSE for evaluation.  Children who are currently receiving Early Intervention (EI service - birth to 3 years) through the Department of Health and in approaching their third birthday may also access the preschool special education process if there are continued concerns about their development in any area.  The child's EI service coordinator is responsible for assisting you in making this transition. Parents register their preschooler and arrange for evaluations at SED approved evaluation sites to determine if a learning problem exists.  The Sachem Preschool Team holds an intake meeting with the parents to explain the CPSE process, eligibility guidelines and due process rights.  The parent has the right to select any approved evaluation center or the evaluations may be completed in their home by an approved evaluator.  The evaluations are forwarded to the Committee on Preschool Education (CPSE) to determine whether the child requires special education services.

If you would like to request an evaluation for your child and begin the CPSE process, please click the link to view the Preschool Registration Packet: Click Here

The Committee consists of:

  • the parent of the child
  • at least one general education teacher of the child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the general education  environment);
  • at least one special education teacher, or where appropriate, at least one special education provider (i.e., related services provider) of the child;
  • a representative of the school district who is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities and who is knowledgeable about the general curriculum and about the availability of the resources of the district (who serves as the chairperson of the committee);
  • an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of the evaluation results, who may be a member of the team selected from the general education teacher, the special education teacher/provider or the school district representative described above;
  • at the discretion of the parent or the agency, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate;
  • where appropriate, the student with a disability.


Presently, New York State law also requires:

  • for any meetings prior to the initial recommendation for a child for whom services are first being sought, a professional who participated in the evaluation of the child, or an appropriate professional employed by the school district as described in section 4410 (3) (a) of the Education Law.
  • for a child in transition from early intervention programs and services, the appropriately licensed or certified professional from the Department of Health's Early Intervention Program.  This professional must attend all meetings of the CPSE conducted prior to the child's initial receipt of services
  • an appropriately certified or licensed professional from the municipality.   Attendance of the appointee of the municipality is not required for a quorum.

Eligibility Criteria:

According to Commissioner's Regulations, pursuant to Section 4410 of the NYS Education Law, a preschooler with a disability shall exhibit a significant delay or disorder related to cognition, language/communication, adaptive behavior, social-emotional and/or motor development which adversely affects the student's ability to learn.

Eligibility shall be determined by evaluation results that indicate:

  • A 12 month delay in one or more functional areas;


  • a 33% delay in one functional area or 25% delay in each of two functional areas;


  • A score of 2.0 standard deviations below the mean in one functional area, or a score of 1.5 standard deviations below the mean in two functional areas;


  • The criteria set forth for autistic, deaf, deaf-blind,  hard of hearing, orthopedically impaired, other health-impaired, traumatic brain-injured, or visually impaired as described by section 200.1 (mm) of the Commissioner's Regulations;



What happens if my child is eligible for services:

It is the responsibility of the school district's CPSE to provide programs and/or services for an eligible child in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

This means that special education and/or related services are provided, to the extent appropriate, to meet the needs of your child, with other children who do not have disabilities, and be as close as possible to the student's residence.

The  CPSE must consider the appropriateness of services to meet the child's needs in the LRE.  As per the regulations, the continuum of services that must be considered by the CPSE includes:

1.  Related Services:

  • speech-language pathology
  • psychological services
  • physical therapy
  • occupational therapy
  • counseling services
  • nursing services

2.  Special education itinerant services (SEIS) refers to special education teacher services provided for a minimum of 2 hours per week.

3.  related services in combination with SEIS

4.  a half-day program (not more than 2.5 hours per day)

5.  a full-day program (more than 2.5 hours per day)

Determination of 10 or 12 month programs and/or services is based on criteria set forth by NYS Education Department.

Approved programs and/or services can be provided at:

  • an approved or licensed pre-kindergarten or Head Start program
  • the child's home
  • the worksite of an approved provider (except SEIS services)
  • a hospital
  • a state facility
  • a child care location


What Happens If My Child is Not Eligible for Services:

A child who is currently receiving EI services or is being referred for the first time may not necessarily meet the mandated eligibility requirements as a Preschool Student with a Disability.

If the CPSE determines that your child does not meet eligibility for services, there are a number of other options that you may consider:

  • Private services may be accessed and your health insurance carrier may provide reimbursement.
  • Many universities and colleges in the area have clinics and provide low cost services.
  • Community resources such as play groups, library programs, socialization groups, etc. are often beneficial to a preschool child who needs a little extra help in a particular area of development.
  • If you have continued concerns about your child's development you may return to your school district for a re-evaluation at a later date. It is typical to wait a period of 6 months to do so.