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The Early Intervention and Preschool Services Programs provide services to eligible infants, toddlers and preschool children up to the age of 5 years. We provide services from 300 to 400 children across the year. The Early Intervention and Preschool Services Programs are actually two separate programs, regulated by two separate state agencies.
Early Recognition of Child Development Problems (from the CDC):
The Early Intervention Program
The New York State Department of Health is the lead agency for the Early Intervention Program. Eligibility for this program is determined by a Core evaluation, which assesses the five developmental domains (cognitive, social-emotional, physical, communication and adaptive). A child must have a 33% delay in one domain or a 25% delay in two or more domains. Some children are automatically deemed eligible for the program due to a diagnosed condition such as Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, etc. If your child does not have a diagnosed condition and you suspect that he/she may have a delay, you may request to have an evaluation done.
Once a child is deemed eligible, the program offers a host of services. Some of these services include, but are not limited to: Audiology, Speech Therapy, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Social Work, Special Instruction, and Service Coordination Services. All providers are qualified personnel, approved by the NYS Health Department.
The services are provided in the child's natural environment, where the child is typically during the day. This could be the child's home or day care. Parental involvement is very important and we request that all parents participate to the fullest extent possible.
Early Intervention services are at no expense to the families. Columbia County is responsible for the expense of the program. Reimbursement is sought from the State Health Department, after accessing other funding sources such as third party insurance and Medicaid.
The Early Intervention Program is a voluntary program. Parents can choose to opt out of the program at any time, without the worry of repercussions, if they wish to resume the program at any time in the future.
The Preschool Program
The lead agency for the Preschool Program is the New York State Education Department. Each school district in the State has a Committee on Preschool Special Education, referred to as the CPSE. The CPSE chair will make sure that your child's rights have been protected and that you have given your consent for any evaluations that may be recommended. Eligibility is based off a multidisciplinary evaluation including any tests or assessments and an observation to find out whether or not the child has a disability. A psychological and a social history are also mandated as part of the evaluation process.
Upon completion of the evaluation, the CPSE Chairperson will set up a meeting with the parent(s), the County Representative, the Chairperson and other members of the Committee to review the information, determine eligibility, and if eligible, create an Individualized Education Plan, or an "IEP". Services will be provided in the least restrictive environment and will be provided by all licensed professionals. Once a child has an IEP, then any changes must be done through the Committee, with parental cons
The Preschool Program is also a voluntary program. Parents can choose to opt out of this program at any time as well. There is no out of pocket expense to the parents. Payment is sought through reimbursement from the State Education Department.
For more information, please call your home school district and ask for the Chairperson of the Committee on Preschool Special Education.