Committee on Preschool Special Education  

Preschool Special Education

What is the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE)?

Sponsored by the New York State Education Department, the CPSE is a committee responsible for children with disabilities ages 3-5 and provides educational services to address the issues that affect their learning. You are a member of the Committee that will recommend special education services for your child.

What is Preschool Special Education?

The New York State Education Department (SED), Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) oversees a statewide preschool special education program with school districts, municipalities, approved providers and parents. Evaluations and specially planned individual or group instructional services or programs are provided to eligible children who have a disability that affects their learning. Funding for these special education programs and services is provided by municipalities and the State 

For more information click the link below in your language of preference

Parent's Guide to Special Education (ENGLISH)

Guía Para los Padres de Educación Especial (ESPAÑOL)  

Referral Process

What is a referral for special education (CPSE)?

A referral is a written statement asking that the school district evaluate your child to determine if he or she needs special education services.

Who else can make a referral for special education?

The CPSE will accept a referral submitted by any of the following:

1. A parent/legal guardian or person in parental relationship.

2. A licensed physician or other health professional.

3. The commissioner or designee of a public agency with responsibility for welfare, health or education of children.

4. A judicial officer.

5. A professional staff member of:

a. A school district

b. An Early Childhood Direction Center (ECDC)

c. A preschool program

d. A program providing early intervention services to children birth to three years of age.  

What should this statement include?

The written referral should include the following information:

1. The child’s:

  1. Legal name (Please use name on Birth Certificate)
  2. Date of birth (a photocopy of a birth certificate should be attached, if available)
  3. Address
  4. Telephone #
  5. Parent/legal guardian’s name
  6. Foster parent/foster agency (if applicable)

2. A statement indicating the reason for referral.

3. A statement specifying if the child has attended any early childhood program and the extent to which the child has received any therapeutic or special education services prior to referral.

4. A description of the language(s) spoken in the child’s home and understood/spoken by the child.

5. The language or other mode of communication preferred by the parent/guardian.

Who should I address the referral to?

This written statement should be addressed to the chairperson of your school district’s Committee or your school principal.

What happens after the referral is sent?

The referral may result in a request to have your child tested to see if he or she needs special education services. Upon receipt of a written initial referral, the CPSE will assign your child a New York City Identification Number and send you a packet with various documents.

What will this packet include?

Your packet should include the following:

• Notice that the CPSE has received the referral (R-1P form)

• Notice of due process rights and free/low cost legal services listing (ENGLISH OR SPANISH)

            -Procedural Safeguards Notice (ENGLISH)

            -Aviso Relativo A Garantías de Procedimiento (ESPAÑOL)

• Consent for Initial Preschool Evaluation (C1-P form)

• List of approved preschool evaluation sites in New York City

What should I do after I receive the packet?

You must select an evaluation site, schedule an appointment and sign consent for the evaluations (C-1P form) to begin the process of evaluations before the date on the Notice that Referral has been received (R-1P).

What happens if I do not choose an approved evaluation site by this date?

If the CPSE does not receive a signed C-1P within fifteen (15) days from the date of receipt of the referral, the CPSE must contact the parent to determine whether or not an evaluation site has been secured. If an approved evaluation site is not chosen within fifteen (15) days, your case may be closed.

What should I do if my case gets closed?

You or the approved evaluation site you chose to conduct evaluation should address a Re-Open Letter  to the chairperson of your school district’s Committee. You can also re-send the referral to the Chairperson. If a new written referral is received after CPSE has closed the case, the CPSE Chairperson must reissue a new C-1P letter and Due Process Notices. If a signed parent consent (C-1P) is received after the CPSE has closed the case, the CPSE will reopen the case as an initial referral as of the date of receipt of the consent form.

What happens if I wish to withdraw my Initial referral?

The CPSE should close the case of any preschool-age child whose parent does not wish to participate in the evaluation, review or placement process. If parental consent is not obtained on the C-1P letter within fifteen (15) days from the date of issuance and the CPSE determines, in consultation with the parents (if possible), and/or the evaluation site (if known), that the parents are not interested in continuing the CPSE evaluation process, the CPSE Chairperson must ensure that the case is closed in CAP and issue the Withdrawal Notification (WN-1P) form (see Appendix A#6.)


What is an evaluation?

Once you have chosen an approved evaluation site and schedule an appointment your child will be evaluated to determine whether your child is eligible for special education services. They may assess your child's level of functioning in any one or all of the following developmental areas: speech and language, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive, sensory integration, behavior, or hearing.

What will I need to begin the process?

You will need to choose an approved evaluation site and schedule an appointment. On the day of the evaluation appointment, you will need to provide a filled and signed copy of the Medical Form with Immunizations (by child’s pediatrician), a copy of  child’s birth certificate and the Consent for Initial Evaluation form provided in the packet.

What happens if I miss my scheduled appointment?

The evaluation site must attempt to reschedule the appointment to remain within the timeline. The evaluation site must maintain a record of all canceled and/or missed appointments.

How long is the evaluation process?

Within TWENTY (20) DAYS from the receipt of the parental consent on the C-1P form, the evaluation site needs to conclude the multi-disciplinary assessment, and forward all documentation to the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) and yourself.

What is the cost of these evaluations?

Evaluations are provided FREE of cost by New York State.

How will I know the status of the evaluations?

The evaluation site must provide a copy of the evaluation reports to you. The evaluation site must also provide the parents with a copy of the summary report (E-IP) which is to be transmitted in English and, as appropriate, in the preferred language or other mode of communication of the parent, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. You can also contact your chosen approved evaluation site at any time during the process to inquire regarding the status of the evaluations.

What if I want to stop the evaluation process?

You should address a letter as soon as possible to the evaluation site chosen and state you are no longer interested in continuing with the evaluation process. This letter will then be forwarded to the CPSE.

What happens after the evaluations are done?

You will be contacted by the CPSE to schedule a CPSE Initial Meeting/Review.  


Why is a CPSE Initial Meeting/Review being conducted?

This meeting is conducted to determine eligibility for preschool special education programs and/or services and develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

What if I cannot attend the CPSE Initial Meeting/Review?

You should attend this meeting because you have important information to share about your child. If you cannot attend, you have the right to ask the district to change the time or place of the meeting. In addition, If you indicate that you cannot or do not wish to reschedule the Review, Committee members will arrange a follow-up conference to discuss the CPSE recommendation and provide you with a copy of the IEP.

What happens in the CPSE Initial Meeting/Review?

Your knowledge and understanding of your Due Process Rights should be confirmed at the beginning of the IEP meeting. At the meeting, the Committee will review the evaluation results. Based on that information, and information that you provide, the Committee decides if your child is eligible or ineligible to receive special education programs and/or services.

Who will be the participants in the CPSE Initial Meeting/Review?

A team of qualified professionals, the parents and other individuals knowledgeable about the child and general/special education services comprise the CPSE.

  • Parent(s)
  • School District Representative
  • General Education Teacher
  • An Individual Who Can Interpret the Instructional Implications of the Evaluation Results.
  • A Special Education Teacher.
  • A Parent of a Child with an Educational Disability (Parent Member)
  • Persons at the Discretion of the Parent or CPSE.
  • Appropriately Licensed or Certified Professional From the Early Intervention Agency. If the student is transitioning from a program serving children with disabilities 0-2 years old, the EI representative must attend the meeting.

What if I do not agree with the decision of the Committee?

You will receive a written notice that explains the Committee’s decision, and the information on which that decision was based. If you disagree with the decision of the Committee, you may request mediation and/or an impartial hearing to resolve the disagreement.  

What does “A Student with a Disability” mean?

A student with a disability means a child with a disability, as defined in Education Law; who does not turn 21 before September first; who is entitled to attend public school; who because of mental, physical or emotional reasons, has been identified as having a disability; and who requires special services or programs. Students, ages 5-21, who are identified as having a disability, may have autism, deafness, deaf-blindness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, learning disability, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury or visual impairment (including blindness). These terms are defined in section 200.1(zz) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. 

What happens if my child is eligible for special education services?

If the Committee decides your child is eligible for special education services, the Committee must identify the one disability category that most appropriately describes your child. The determination of a disability category is used solely for eligibility purposes and does not prescribe the program or services your child will receive. The Committee will develop and implement an individualized education program (IEP) to meet your child’s needs.

You will receive a written notice that explains the Committee’s decision, and the information on which that decision was based. If you disagree with the decision of the Committee, you may request mediation and/or an impartial hearing to resolve the disagreement. 


What is an IEP?

If your child is eligible for special education services and/or programs, the Committee must meet to develop a plan to meet your child’s unique needs. This plan is called an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

How does the IEP evolve?

The IEP evolves from a discussion that begins with how your child is doing in school (current level of functioning). From that base, the Committee agrees on the goals your child should be working toward. The Committee then discusses the supports and services and modifications that the child needs to reach those goals. Finally, the Committee determines where those special education services will be provided (location and placement). The location where services will be provided and the student’s placement must be in the least restrictive environment. For preschool children with disabilities, special education services can be delivered in day care, a regular preschool program or other early childhood program in which you have enrolled your child.

What development process must the IEP consider?

The IEP development process must consider:

  • your child’s strengths;
  • our concerns for your child’s education;
  • he results of your child’s individual evaluation;
  • the results of any State or district wide tests or assessments; and
  • any unique needs related to your child’s disability (such as communication needs, behavior, etc.).

What happens after the IEP is developed?

The Board of Education is responsible for arranging for appropriate special education programs and services to be provided to your child. There are timelines for implementing (starting) your child’s IEP. There may be no delay in implementing the IEP while deciding who pays for the special education services. You will receive a copy of the IEP at no cost to you, and your child’s teachers and service providers (who are involved in implementing the IEP) will have access to a copy of the IEP. Each teacher and service provider will be informed about his or her specific responsibilities to implement the IEP and specific accommodations, modifications and supports that must be provided to your child.

For more information, click on the following link: A Parent's Guide to Understanding the IEP Process 


Who may obtain personal information regarding my child?

Personal information about your child may not be released without your consent unless it is:

  • given to school officials or teachers with a legitimate educational interest, State and local educational    authorities, or certain individuals designated under Federal Law.
  •  used to meet a requirement under Federal Law.

What type of information is considered personal?

  • Personal information includes the following information:
  • the name of your child, your name, or the names of other family members.
  • the home address of your child.
  • personal information, such as your child’s social security number.
  • a description that would make it possible to identify your child.

What does “consent” mean?

It means you have been informed in the language you speak, or other kind of communication that you understand, of all the information about the activity for which your permission is asked.  It also states you understand and agree in writing to the activity for which your permission is needed. The consent also means your permission is given freely and may be withdrawn at any time. However, if you withdraw your consent, it is not retroactive (it will not apply to actions already taken by the district).

When will my consent be requested?

Your consent will be requested when:

  • your child will be evaluated for the first time by the Committee to decide if he or she has a disability and             needs special education.
  • your child is recommended to receive special education services and programs for the first time.
  • your child is recommended to receive twelve-month special education services (programs during July and August) for the first time.
  • your child will be reevaluated.
  • the school district proposes to use your private insurance. In this case, you must be notified that if you refuse   to allow the school district to access (use) your private insurance, the district is still responsible to provide all required services at no cost to you.
  • another agency other than a school requests to review records about your child. The request for consent will include information about the records that will be released and to whom they will be given.

What is IDEA?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth-2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth (ages 3-21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.

What is FERPA?

FERPA is The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99). This is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.