Summer is almost upon us, and we want to make sure our kids are ready for their first day of school in September and this includes making sure they receive the services they need through the Department of Education such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, special instruction, etc. As speech therapists, we have heard parents say time and time again that navigating the labyrinth of CPSE can be overwhelming, so we are here to make it just a little easier. Let’s start by answering the basic who, what, when, where, and why of CPSE.
Who is eligible?
Every child from the age of 3-5 is eligible for an evaluation through CPSE for physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, etc. If you are a concerned parent and would like your child evaluated, all you have to do in New York City is call 311. Tell the operator the age of your child and the area of concern. They will, in turn, provide you with a number for an agency that will conduct the evaluations or provide you with the number for CPSE directly for your district. If you decide to contact the CPSE administrator directly, they will ask you to send a request for a referral in writing. Some children have already gone through the Early Intervention process and need a continuation of services when their child turns 3; however, Early Intervention falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and CPSE is under the Department of Education. Therefore, a separate evaluation must be conducted through CPSE for your child to continue with services after Early Intervention ends and your Service Coordinator will be able to assist you.
What happens next?
Parents will receive a packet containing notice that CPSE has received the referral and a notice of due process rights listing. Parents will also receive a consent for an Initial Preschool Evaluation form and a list of approved preschool evaluation sites in New York City. The parent must also sign consent for the evaluations to begin. Once the forms are filled out and parents pick an evaluation site, the evaluations can get underway. A psychological evaluation is often conducted first to determine if other evaluations are needed (speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc.).
When will the process be completed?
The whole process can take up to 60 school days. This is called the 30/30 rule, and it means 30 days to the evaluation process and after that 30 days to implementation of services, should your child qualify.
Where do I go to get started with the evaluation process?
If you would like to contact the CPSE administrator for your district directly, there is a list of contact information based on location at the link below. http://schools.nyc.gov/Academics/SpecialEducation/ContactsResources/cse.htm
If you would like to contact an agency directly, below is a list of agencies that conduct CPSE evaluations:
3. Up We Grow
Why should we consider CPSE?
If your child is between the ages of 3-5 and you are concerned with their development of speech and language, physical development, and/or cognitive growth, you should consider getting support for your child.
How will services be provided?
Should your child be found eligible based on the evaluations, you will then be asked to attend an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting. At this meeting, the committee will determine the frequency and duration of the treatment needed, generate goals, and answer your questions and concerns. It is possible for services to be provided in the home, but this is rare. Most services are provided in a preschool or even an office/gym/group that contracts with the Department of Education and accepts Related Service Authorization (RSA). The Committee on Preschool Education can provide you with a list of contracting service providers.
If you are a parent that would prefer not to go through the CPSE process another route may to find an in-home private therapist. We know how overwhelming this process may seem, but hopefully this information has made the process a little less daunting!