Pre-School Education

What is it?

The Special Education Preschool Program is a federally mandated and funded service. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) makes a range of educational opportunities available to children with moderate to severe disabilities who are three and four years old. The program is managed by the Warrensburg Central School District with financial support provided by Warren County. The district does not operate nor supervise any preschool special education programs or services. Children are served at any one of several county-approved private agency sites in the area, or through home-based and community-based programs. Warren County arranges transportation through private providers.

Who is eligible?

Any child age between the ages of 36 months (3 years) and 60 months (5 years) residing in the Warrensburg School District who is experiencing significant difficulties or delays in development, whether physical, mental, emotional, or behavioral can be referred for service. Areas of concern can include difficulties in developing speech and language skills, thinking skills, motor skills or social skills, or maintaining age appropriate behavior. An assessment is conducted by a state approved evaluation agency to determine if your child qualifies for the Special Education Preschool Program. Parents/guardians are able to choose their child's evaluator from an approved list supplied by the Pupil Personnel Services Office.

What services are available?

CORE Assessment: A developmental evaluation of your child's language skills, fine and gross motor skills, cognitive ability, social/emotional skills and adaptive skills is conducted. Parents are interviewed to assess family needs. Screening and evaluation procedures include a review of relevant social, economic, cultural, medical and nutritional factors that affect the child's growth and development. The preschool assessment will identify your child's strengths and weaknesses. The core assessment provides the team with information regarding your child's strengths and weaknesses.

Committee On Preschool Special Education (CPSE): A multidisciplinary team consisting of evaluators, parents, teachers, and other professionals with knowledge of the child who review the evaluations, determine eligibility for services and programs. This committee reviews each student referred for special education services. Parents and guardians are a key part of the team and their opinions are sought out and valued.

Home-Based and Agency Services: An individualized education plan (IEP) for children and their families is written at the CPSE meeting. Services are then provided either in the child's home or at an approved agency. Planned curriculum is provided as a guide for parents and caregivers in educating the child. Certified practitioners in specialized areas may provide home-based services. Specialized services may also be provided at an agency approved to provide specialized services to a child. These services include Special Education Itinerant Services (SEIT), Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Speech Therapy.

Community-Based Services: The providers listed above may travel to home or childcare centers, Head Start centers, or other community settings to provide services to the child, consult with the staff, and modify curriculum or materials. The providers often share strategies with parents and caregivers.

Classroom-Based Services: The child's total program is provided in a special education preschool class. Classes are located at approved agencies in the area. Some of the services (e.g. speech, occupational therapy_ may be provided to your child while they are in their preschool classroom.

Transition Services: Program staff work to ensure a smooth transition from the early intervention program sponsored by the Warren County to the pre-school system and from the preschool program into the school-aged classroom.

To determine if your child is a candidate for assessment, ask yourself these questions:

  • Is my child's learning delayed, or does he/she seem to learn more slowly than other children?
  • Does my child have trouble walking or using his/her arms?
  • Does my child have trouble seeing?
  • Does my child not talk or talk very little?
  • Is my child difficult to understand when he/she speaks?
  • Does my child often not respond when you talk to him/her, or do I have to repeat things frequently?
  • Does my child get upset easily, cry a lot, have temper tantrums, sleeping problems or other behaviors that concern me?
  • When my child is with other children his/her age, do they seem to be delayed in any way?

If the answer is yes to any of these questions, the Preschool Special Education Program may be able to help.

What does it cost?

All services provided through the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) are offered at no charge. Funding is provided through federal, state, and local sources.

How do I access services for my child?

Parents, medical practitioners or community agencies may refer a child to this program. A referral form signed by the parent is required to begin the referral process. To obtain a referral, or for additional information, contact the District’s Pupil Personnel Office at 623-9747 x 2. Office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm. The fax number is 623-3775. The Warrensburg Pupil Personnel Services Office is located at Warrensburg Elementary School.

Source: Saratoga Springs City School District, Special Education Website (with permission)

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