FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I know if my child has special needs?
There is no easy answer to this question. Conventional wisdom suggests that parents become familiar with developmental milestones and discuss your child’s development with your pediatrician. In addition, you can assess whether your child has trouble with any of the following areas:
- Attention and concentration
- Spoken or written language
- Social Behavior
- Physical coordination
Where do I start?
If you suspect that your child has a disability that effects his or her learning you can start by referring your child for an evaluation.
a)If your child is under the age of 3 contact the Westchester Department of Health Early Intervention Program
b)If your child is between the ages of 3-5 contact the Director of Special Education or the CPSE Chairperson
c)If your child is between the ages of 6-21 we recommend that you arrange for a conference with your child’s teacher, school psychologist, house counselor or dean. Their input can help in assessing whether to submit a request (referral) to the CSE for an evaluation.
What is the referral process?
A parent can make a referral for their child to be evaluated by the school district by written request to the Director of Special Education. A referral can also be made by a professional staff member at school or a licensed physician.
Can the School District evaluate my child without my knowledge or consent?
If a referral is made by someone other than you, the parent, then your consent is required. A consent form will be sent to you from the Scarsdale Special Education Office and the evaluation will not start until your consent is given in writing.
What is the evaluation process?
The initial evaluation is a comprehensive assessment of your child to determine whether he or she has a disability. The evaluation must be completed within 60 school days of receiving parental consent. The evaluation performed by the school district is at no cost to you. If you decide to obtain a private evaluation the costs can vary.
The evaluation will include
A physical examination;
An individual psychological evaluation by the school psychologist or an outside evaluator;
A complete social history usually completed by the parents;
A written observation of the student in the classroom setting;
Appropriate educational evaluations and assessments relating to the areas of suspected disabilities
Who analyzes the test results?
The results of the evaluation are presented to you in writing. The results are also analyzed and discussed at the meeting of the full Committee on Special Education (CSE). You will have an opportunity at this meeting to ask questions about the results. In addition to achievement and aptitude test results the CSE carefully considers additional information such as teacher recommendations and input from the parents. After reviewing the full evaluation and a complete discussion, the CSE determines if your child is eligible for special education services and if eligible, develops an Individual Education Plan (IEP) for your child. The parents are always part of this discussion.
Who attends the CPSE Meeting?
The Chairperson of CPSE
A representative from the Westchester County Dept. of Health
The parents or legal guardian of a child
A representative from the school who provided the evaluation
A parent member if requested by the parents
Others invited by the parents who may have special knowledge about your child or to provide support for the parents.
Your child’s teacher.
Who attends the CSE Meeting?
The Chairperson (Which may be the Director of Special Education)
A school psychologist
A special education teacher
A general education teacher
The parents or legal guardian of a child
A parent member
Other professionals such as a speech and language teacher
Others invited by the parents who may have special knowledge about your child or to provide support for the parents
Where and when are the meetings held?
The initial CPSE and CSE meetings are held in the special education office at the Scarsdale District Offices: 2 Brewster Road.
Can my child receive services without a classification?
Yes. The Scarsdale School District does provide various support services without classification. These services may include: speech and language, learning resource center, psychological counseling services, occupational therapy etc.
What is a parent member?
The parent member is an additional parent of a student with a disability (or one who has been declassified or graduated within the previous 5 years) residing in the school district or a neighboring school district. Parent members receive training and their role is to bring another perspective as a parent of a child with a disability to the discussions and decision-making process. The parent members are available to help the family understand and participate in the meeting by explaining procedures, asking questions, or seeking clarifying information. Parent members are bound by rules of confidentiality. Parent members are not the same as a parent advocate or attorney. Until recent changes in the law, the parent member used to be required at a full CPSE or CSE committee unless waived by the family. Currently, families still have a right to a parent member at the committee and must request the appointment of one in writing at least 72 hours prior to the meeting. Independent of the parent member, families may bring another parent or friend or relative for support at a CPSE or CSE meeting.
What are the 13 classifications of disabilities?
Autistic, deaf-blind, deaf, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedically impaired, other health impairment, specific learning disability, speech or language impaired, traumatic brain injury, visually impaired including blindness.
What is included on the IEP?
The IEP is an important legal document. It forms the basis for the educational instruction of your child. The IEP contains the following:
Your child's classification
A summary of your child’s current strengths and needs
A description of the programs and services to meet those needs
A list of services your child will receive
A list of goals.
How are IEP goals set?
The CSE committee will review your child's Present Levels of Performance (PLP) which include, academic, physical, social, management and transitional needs. Objective data of a child's skills are the baseline for these goals. The CSE will then discuss and draft measurable goals for your child's educational progress. These goals should be specific and tailored to your child's individual needs, objectively measurable, realistic, and time-limited.
What programs and services are available in the Scarsdale School District?
Speech and language, physical therapy, occupational therapy, counseling
Consultation teacher: a special education teacher in regular education classes
Learning Resource Center specialized supplemental instruction
Special education classes
Special classes in neighboring districts or BOCES
Private Day Schools
What is a re-evaluation or triennial review?
Once a child is classified under IDEA, the child is re-evaluated every three(3) years to determine if the child should remain classified or be de-classified. The re-evaluation or triennial review is followed by the triennial review meeting of the CSE to discuss continuing classification and eligibility for special education services.
What is a self-contained class?
A self-contained class is a non-integrated class where students receive instruction in a special education classroom. Student /teacher /aide ratios can vary depending on the needs of that particular class.
What is an inclusion or co-taught class?
An inclusion or co-taught model class is an integrated class with both general and special education students. It contains a general education teacher and a special education teacher working cooperatively to teach all students in the class.
What is out-of-district placement?
It is a specialized school or program outside your local school district. A student is recommended for an out-of-district placement only when the CSE determines that the school district does not have an appropriate program for the student. Students may be placed in public, private or at a residential school where they live full time.
What is a 504 plan?
504 refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 prohibits discrimination against an individual with a disability and ensures equal access to education for a child with a disability. The definition of a disability is broader under 504 than under IDEA and NYS Education Law. A disabled person under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act includes anyone who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.
Children who qualify can obtain accommodations or modifications in school including, but not limited to, technology, extra time on tests, preferential seating, frequent breaks, classroom notes, or behavior intervention plans. A 504 Plan is NOT an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) which is reserved for students who fall into one of the 13 classifications of disability. A student with a 504 Plan can also, receive related services such as speech and language, if appropriate. The actual accommodations recommended will be based on th individuals specific needs.