EARLY CHILDHOOD PLANNING

  • Early Intervention & Individualized Family Services Plans (IFSPs) 

  • Preschool Special Education Services 

  • Private Psychological/Medical Testing and Evaluations 

✔ Is your child's public school failing to adapt to the pandemic in order to meet your child's needs? 
✔ Does your child have disabilities or learning delays? 
✔ Does your child require adaptations to succeed in the classroom?
✔ What modifications are required for your child to learn and flourish?
✔ Do you have questions about your child’s public and private education options?

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We help children with special needs receive a quality education

It is never too early to meet with your child’s school and teachers to discuss and plan goals, strategies, and milestones for your child’s academic success. 

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Early Intervention & Individualized Family Services Plans (IFSP’s)

Early Intervention (EI) is the name used to describe the services and supports that are available to babies and young children with developmental delays or disabilities and their families. EI services may include special instruction, speech therapy, physical therapy, and other types of services based on the needs of the child and the child’s family.

 

EI programs are publicly funded by the government through taxpayers’ dollars, are available at the federal level, state level, and local level, and provide services for free or at a reduced cost for any child who is eligible. Early intervention can have a significant positive impact on a child’s ability to learn new skills and overcome challenges, and can increase a child’s future success in school and life.

New York State Early Intervention Law

New York State law clearly defines who is eligible for early intervention services. According to the regulations of the New York State Department of Health, a child is generally entitled to EI (Early Intervention) services from birth until the age of three. But, if the child turns three on or after September 1, the child is eligible to continue receiving EI services until January 2 of the next calendar year.

 

So, then, why does the NYC Department of Education tell parents differently? In a recent case we handled at the Law Offices of Adam Dayan, the mother of a child with autism exercised her right to continue EI services until January 2 following the child's third birthday. The mother told the Department of Education that she would be needing a preschool placement for her child once the EI services expired.  The Department responded that no programs were available and blamed the mother for extending the EI services.  They were basically saying, "You should have come to us in September." 

 

When the Department failed to recommend a program, the mother placed her child in a private school capable of meeting his needs and we filed a claim for tuition reimbursement. The Department ultimately decided not to fight the case because its position was not supported by the law. The claim was settled and the parent received 100% of the funding she was seeking. 

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Individualized Family Services Plans (IFSP’s)

An IFSP (Individualized Family Services Plan) is a written education plan for children with disabilities and delays that describes in detail the EI services your child will receive, and how and when these services will be administered. An IFSP should be created with the parents, educators, and a team of involved parties of the child to help determine the best plan for your child to learn and succeed before and in school.

Your child’s Individualized Family Services Plan should be continually reviewed, adjusted, and updated to reflect program changes, progress in your child, and new information about your child’s education needs. 

If your child’s Early Intervention Program is not providing adequate IFSP planning and support, a special education lawyer can help make sure that your child’s rights are protected by the education system. 
 

Preschool Special Education Services

Children who are turning age 3 and are transitioning from early intervention to preschool may continue to require special education programs and services. Children who received EI services are not automatically eligible for preschool special education services. Children under the age of 3 receive services under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Once a child turns 3, service eligibility is determined according to Part B of IDEA. In many states, the same agency does not provide Part C and Part B services. 

Transitioning to preschool takes time, and is not a single event. Parents should begin early to promote and ensure continuity of services and provide families with a seamless system of services. A Transition Meeting with the parents, EI program, preschool, and other involved parties should start the process of preparing your child for preschool special education services.

If you are told your child does not qualify for preschool special education services, but you believe your child does meet the qualifications, a special education lawyer can help make sure that your child’s rights are protected by the education system. 

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Private Psychological/Medical Testing and Evaluations 

In order to ensure their child gets the special education and resources to which they are legally entitled, many parents choose to pay for private psychological or medical testing and evaluation. If you have paid for private testing to evaluate your child, you want to be sure that the school system considers the results of that testing when determining whether your child is entitled to services.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that an outside evaluation “must be considered” by the school district IF the evaluation “meets [the school’s] criteria.” This means that the school system is not required to accept the results of a private evaluation or factor the results into their recommendations. 

You should consult your child’s school district team to determine which private tests and evaluators meet their standards BEFORE you pay for private testing. You are not required to use a pre-approved testing facility, but it would be useful to know the approved evaluators before you hire someone. 

If you are told your private test results will not be considered when determining if your child qualifies for special education services, a special education lawyer can help make sure that your child’s rights are protected by the education system.