Evaluation Services

For Preschoolers at Risk of Developmental Delays

If you are concerned about your child's development, you may contact your local school district to refer your child for evaluations to determine if your child is eligible to receive services.

You will need to choose Family Enrichment Network to complete their child's evaluations through the local school district's special education office. Then Family Enrichment Network will call you and set up the appointment for the evaluations.

The evaluations will determine if your child qualifies for services from the Committee for Preschool Special Education (CPSE.) There is no cost to parents for these evaluations.

If your child is eligible under New York State guidelines, he/she may receive speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, and/or special education services. Eligibility is determined by the CPSE meeting at your child's school district, based on evaluation information.

Program Details

What is Child Find? Child Find is the continuous process of public awareness activities, screening activities, and evaluations of children, with the purpose of locating, identifying, and evaluating children with disabilities as early as possible. According to IDEA 2004 federal special education law, Child Find means we have the responsibility to "find" children with disabilities, including those who are homeless or wards of the State, and regardless of the severity of the disabilities. Public school districts are legally mandated to "find" children with disabilities from ages 3 to 21, and arrange to have services provided as needed. Although this mandate is for school districts, we as preschool providers need to assist school districts in this mandate by passing on any information about suspected disabilities to them in the form of special education referrals. We do not want to hinder a child from receiving help, because research has shown that the earlier the services are given to address the child's needs, the more effective the services will be.

It is well established that the rate of human learning and development is most rapid in the preschool years. Preschool special education services have been correlated with higher school achievement, lower rates of school dropout, lower rates of juvenile arrest for violent and non-violent charges, a lower incidence of teenage pregnancy, and a higher rate of declassification from special education services. When special education services are provided as soon as possible, the child will often need fewer services later on. These effects have been shown to be significant for children from low-income families.

Quality preschool special education services also improve the functioning of the family. The family of a young exceptional child often feels additional stress when a child's skills are delayed. Parents may experience feelings of disappointment, social isolation, frustration, or helplessness. When there is a child with a disability in the family, there may be more disagreements in the marriage and more incidence of depression.  Early special education services can produce improved family attitudes about themselves and their child, and provide helpful information and parenting skills for working with their child at home.

Preschool children with disabilities may receive a variety of programming. They could attend a segregated special education class; an integrated classroom (Family Enrichment Network presently has eight integrated classrooms); or have SEIT (Special Education Itinerant Teacher) services, which is  where the special education teacher goes to the child's home, day care setting, or preschool classroom. Preschool children with disabilities could also have one or a combination of related services. Related services may include speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, parent training, or other appropriate support services.

When a child with suspected disabilities is "found," after discussing your concerns with the child's parents, the next step is a referral to special education to the school district.  The school district's special education office will then contact the parents for consent for the required evaluations, since before a child can be identified with disabilities, evaluations need to be completed. A psychological is required, but there may also be speech/language, occupational therapy, physical therapy, or other evaluations, when appropriate. There are strict state guidelines for eligibility for special education services, and the evaluation scores must meet these eligibility requirements. The areas that may be considered are cognitive abilities, speech and language skills, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, adaptive skills (such as feeding, dressing, and toileting), and behavior skills. Children with outside evaluations for a diagnosed disability, such as autism spectrum disorder, may also be eligible for preschool special education services.

If you are a parent, and you are concerned about your preschool child's development, we encourage you to talk with your child's preschool teacher about your child's needs. Your child's teacher may have similar concerns, and may suggest strategies to help your child. Your child's teacher may want to put in a referral for your child for evaluations and special education services. Parents, of course, may refer their child directly at any time.  Once their child has been evaluated and recommendations have been made, parents have the option of accepting or refusing the services.

If your child is 3 to 5 years old, you may contact the Committee on Preschool Special Education at the public school where your child would be going to school, and discuss your concerns for your child and request the evaluations. If your child is younger than 3 years old, you may contact the Broome County Health Department, Children with Special Needs, Early Intervention Program, 225 Front Street, Binghamton, New York, at 778-2823.

As preschool providers, we need to ensure that all children who are in need of services are located, referred, and identified, so that these children will receive appropriate educational programming to support their learning and development as early as possible.

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What Happens If.....

As a parent/guardian, a teacher tells you he/she is concerned that your child is having difficulties in school and should be evaluated? Many thoughts may run through your mind. "What's wrong? Is he going to have trouble in school? Does he need extra help? How can I get extra help? What happens next?" We would like to explain the evaluation process within our Agency to help ease some of those fears and concerns.

If a teacher or parent/guardian has a concern, he/she contacts the school district to make a referral. The district obtains consent from the parent/guardian for an evaluation. If the parent/guardian does not consent, the evaluation will not take place. However, if the parent/guardian agrees, the Special Services Director receives permission to get things started. An appointment is set up to complete a psychological evaluation. These evaluations are completed by one of two psychologists working with our Agency that have extensive experience working with young children. When the family arrives for the evaluation, the child works with the psychologist and the parents/caregivers complete a social history. The social history is simply gathering background information about the child's family, birth information, health history, etc.

After the psychologist has completed the evaluation, the next step is for therapists to evaluate the child. If the referral is made due to speech concerns, our speech and language pathologist evaluates the child. Most often, this is done within the child's school environment. If that is not possible, or if the child does not attend school, we may ask the family to return to our building for testing. At this time, any other concerns are attended to. If, for example, there is a concern about writing, or fine motor skills, our occupational therapist will evaluate the child also.

For an evaluation to be complete, it needs to have four major parts:

  • a psychological evaluation,
  • a social history,
  • a medical evaluation (which is obtained from the family physician) and
  • an evaluation in the area (or areas) of concern (speech, fine motor, gross motor, or cognitive).

Once the report is finished, the parents/caregivers, school district, and health department receive a copy. At this point, parents/ caregivers are encouraged to contact our Agency with any questions or concerns they may have. We are willing to address any concerns about the report. Next, a CPSE (Committee for Preschool Special Education) meeting is scheduled at the school district. The above people will be invited, in addition to a member from our Agency to explain the findings within the report.

At that meeting, it will be decided, as a group, what help is necessary for the child to succeed. It will be determined at that time if the child does or does not need therapy. If it is determined that he needs to attend a special education preschool to further his gains over time, it will be determined then. All decisions are made as a group and the job of the CPSE is to determine what is necessary for the child and is most appropriate. Parents/caregivers are encouraged to voice their opinions and concerns.

Therapy or preschool starts after the school board meets to approve the decisions made by the CPSE. After that, the CPSE meets annually to review the child's plan and services. Changes are made accordingly and as a group.

The process is time consuming and rather involved, however, parents/caregivers should know that they may ask questions at any time and that the final purpose of any evaluation is to get children the services they need.

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Program FAQ

You need to call the Special Education Director at the school district where you live, and tell them that you would like to have your child evaluated for special education services.

The parent, preschool or Head Start teacher, doctor, or other concerned person, notices a delay in one or more areas and would like further information. The parent contacts the school district where the child will go, and asks for the Special Education Office or CSE/CPSE Office. The parent describes the concerns, and asks for evaluations. The parent will need to sign a consent form, giving permission for the evaluations and choosing an evaluator from the list. The chosen evaluator will contact the parents to set up the appointment for testing. After the testing, the results are mailed to the parents, to the school district, and to the County (preschool services are funded through the County). The district will set up a new referral meeting, and key people are invited. The parents may bring anyone they wish to come with them to the meeting. At the CPSE meeting, the group of people, called the CPSE Committee, reviews the results from the testing, and recommends appropriate services. If the child is eligible for services, the services will be provided, and documented on an IEP, or Individualized Education Program. Sometimes the child might have a delay, but not be eligible for services under the New York State criteria.

Services available for preschool children with identified disabilities include related services, such as, speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. Also available is SEIT, or Special Education Itinerant Teacher services, which is special instruction which can take place at the child’s preschool, daycare, or at home. Children who need the support of a special education teacher can benefit from an integrated classroom, which has a special education teacher present in the classroom. Special Transportation may be provided for children who are eligible for the integrated classroom setting.

Complete the following checklist, and if you have answered, “No,” to many questions, you should bring this checklist and your concerns to your physician for advice. If your physician does not feel there is a reason to be concerned, but you still feel uncomfortable, contact your local school district to set up an evaluation. Receptive Language Skills: Does your child: 2-3 years Answer simple questions about familiar events? Understand most sentences directed to them? Follow 2 step directions? Understand differences in meaning ("go , stop"; "in , on")? 3-4 years Hear you when you call them from another room? Hear television at the same loudness level as other family members? Answer simple "who", "what", "why" questions? 4-5 years Hear and understand most of what is said at home and in school? Pay attention to a story and answer simple questions? Tell a story about him/herself? Talking: Does your child: 2-3 years Use 3 to 4 word sentences? Ask "what" and "where" questions? Mispronounce many words, but uses them correctly? Use "no" and "not" in phrases? Speak so he can be understood most of the time? Have a word for almost everything? 3-4 years Ask many questions, including why? Use sentences about 4-5 words long? Tell a simple story? Generally be understood by strangers? 4-5 years Have 'adult-like' grammar? Tell you a story and stick pretty much to the topic? Talk easily with other children and adults?

Complete the following checklist, and if you have answered, “No,” to many questions, you should bring this checklist and your concerns to your physician for advice. If your physician does not feel there is a reason to be concerned, but you still feel uncomfortable, contact your school district to set up an evaluation. Fine Motor: Does your child: 3 years Build a tower with 9 cubes? Copy a circle, vertical, and horizontal line? Turn book pages one at a time? Hold a pencil in writing position? Open rotating door handles? Lace 3 holes of a shoe? Cut a piece of paper in half? 4 years Copy square shapes? Draw a person with two to four body parts? Cut on a line? Begin to copy some capitol letters? 5 years Copy a triangle and other geometric patterns? Print some letters? Cut out a circle on a line? Color within lines? Adaptive and Dressing Skills: Does your child: 3 years Stab food with a fork? Hold spoon in fingers with palm up? Use napkin? Serve self at table with little spilling? Use toilet with assistance - has daytime control? Button large buttons? Put on socks, may have difficulty turning the heel? Zip and unzip jackets (unable to separate or insert shank)? Put shoes on, although may be on wrong feet? 4 Years Put on socks with heel placement? Put shoes on with little assistance? Buckle shoes and belts? 5 Years Put shirt on correctly? Put belt in loop? Untie a tie on an apron (behind self)?

Complete the following checklist, and if you have answered, “No,” to many questions, you should bring this checklist and your concerns to your physician for advice. If your physician does not feel there is a reason to be concerned, but you still feel uncomfortable, contact your school district to set up an evaluation. Gross Motor Skills: Does your child: 3 years Pedal a tricycle? Walk down stairs with alternating feet? Climb jungle gyms and ladders? Catch an 8-inch ball? Hop on 1 foot 2 or 3 times? 4 years Hop and stands on one foot up to 5 seconds? Kick ball forward? Throw ball overhand? Catch a bounced ball? Walk downstairs holding and object in 1 hand and no railing? 5 years Do somersaults? Skip? Swing? Touch toes with both hands? Catch a bounced playground ball with two hands? Jump backward?

Complete the following checklist, and if you have answered, “No,” to many questions, you should bring this checklist and your concerns to your physician for advice. If your physician does not feel there is a reason to be concerned, but you still feel uncomfortable, contact your school district to set up an evaluation. Social Attributes: (not by age, just in general) The Child: 1. Is not EXCESSIVELY dependent on the teacher, assistant or other adults 2. USUALLY copes with rebuffs and reverses adequately 3. Shows the capacity to empathize 4. Has positive relationship with one or two peers; shows capacity to really care about them, miss them if absent, etc. 5. Displays the capacity for humor 6. Approaches others positively 7. Expresses wishes and preferences clearly; gives reasons for actions and positions 8. Asserts own rights and needs appropriately 9. Expresses frustrations and anger effectively and without harming others or property 10. Enters ongoing discussion on the subject; makes relevant contributions to ongoing activities 11. Takes turns fairly, easily 12. Negotiates and compromises with others appropriately 13. Does not draw inappropriate attention to self 14. Accepts and enjoys peers and adults of ethnic groups other than his or her own. 15. Interacts non-verbally with other children with smiles, waves, nods, etc.

Call the SES office here at Family Enrichment Network at 723-8313, ext. 504 Contact the CPSE Chairperson at the Special Education Office of your local school district. Contact the Broome County Department of Health, Maternal Child Health And Development, at 778-2823. Go to the New York State web site, http://www.vesid.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/parentguide.htm – and there is a Guide for Parents.