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 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 Department of Education tell parents different? In a recent case, 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 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.