Recommended Special Education Programs and Services (Revised December 2010)
The IEP must indicate the recommended program and services, including related services that will be provided for the student to:
- advance appropriately toward his or her annual goals;
- be involved and progress in the general education curriculum (or for preschool students, in appropriate activities);
- participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; and
- be educated and participate in activities with other students with disabilities and nondisabled students.
The regulations require that the IEP must indicate:
- the projected date for initiation of the recommended special education program and services;
- the recommended special education programs and services, (special education and related services) specified from the options set forth in Regulations for the continuum of services (section 200.6 for school-age students and section 200.16 for preschool students);
- the anticipated frequency, duration and location for each of the recommended programs and services, including the supplementary aids and services and program modifications to be provided to or on behalf of the student;
- whether the student is eligible for a 12-month special service and/or program and the identity of the provider of services during the months of July and August; for preschool students, the reasons the student needs a 12-month program;
- the class size, if appropriate;
- a statement of supports for school personnel on behalf of the student;
- the general education classes in which the student will receive consultant teacher services;
- any assistive technology devices or services needed for the student to benefit from education, including the use of such devices in the student’s home or in other settings;
- a statement of any individual testing accommodations to be used consistently by the student in the recommended educational program and in the administration of district-wide assessments of student achievement and, in accordance with Department policy, in State assessments of student achievement that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the student;
if the recommendation for a preschool student is for one or more related services selected from the list maintained by the municipality or itinerant services, the child care location arranged by the parent or other site at which each service will be provided.
Considerations to Develop Recommended Programs and Services
The recommended special education programs and services in a student’s IEP identify what the school will provide for the student so that the student is able to achieve the annual goals and to participate and progress in the general education curriculum (or for preschool students, age-appropriate activities) in the least restrictive environment. In determining the recommended programs and services for each student to achieve his or her annual goals, the Committee needs to consider the results of the student’s evaluation, student’s strengths, concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child, results of any general State or district-wide assessment programs and any special considerations unique to this student.
In all cases, the determination of programs and services must be individually determined on the basis of each student’s abilities and needs. The recommendations of the programs and services a student needs cannot be based solely on factors such as the category of the student’s disability, the availability of special education programs or related services or personnel, the current availability of space, administrative convenience, or how the district/agency has configured its special education service delivery system.
Special Education Program /Services
The IEP must specify the special education program and/or services needed by the student.
For school-age students, the continuum of special education programs and services includes:
- consultant teacher services
- integrated co-teaching services
- resource room program
- special class
- travel training
- adapted physical education
For preschool students, the continuum of special education programs and services includes:
- special education itinerant teacher services
- special class integrated setting
- special class half-day or full-day
Related services for both school-age and preschool students include, but are not limited to, such services as:
- speech/language therapy
- audiology services
- interpreting services
- psychological services
- counseling services
- physical therapy
- occupational therapy
- orientation and mobility services
- parent counseling and training
- school health services
- school social work
- assistive technology services
In recommending special education services for a preschool student, the CPSE must first consider the appropriateness of providing (1) related services only or (2) special education itinerant services only, or (3) related services in combination with special education itinerant services or (4) a half-day preschool program or (5) a full day program.
For guidance on the continuum of services for preschool students, see section 200.16 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education and/or the Guide for Determining Eligibility and Special Education Programs and/or Services for Preschool Students with Disabilities found at
For guidance on the continuum of special education programs and services for school-age students, see section 200.6 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education or the April 2008 memorandum entitled Continuum of Special Education Services for School-age Students with Disabilities found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/schoolagecontinuum.html.
Program Modifications, Accommodations, Supplementary Aids and Services
Supplementary aids and services and/or program modifications or supports means aids, services and other supports that are provided in general education classes or other education-related settings to enable students with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled students to the maximum extent appropriate in the least restrictive environment. The IEP must specify the projected date for initiation of services and the frequency, location and duration of such services. Following are examples of supplementary aids and services, accommodations and program modifications:
- A note taker
- Instructional materials in alternative formats (e.g., Braille, large print, books on tape)
- Extra time to go between classes
- Special seating arrangements
- Highlighted work
- Books on tape
- Study guide outlines of key concepts
- Use of a study carrel for independent work
- Assignment of supplementary school personnel (i.e., teacher aide/teaching assistant)
- Behavior management/support plan
- Extra time to complete assignments
Assistive Technology Devices and Services
The IEP must describe any assistive technology devices and/or services needed for the student to benefit from education, including whether the use of a school-purchased assistive technology device is required to be used in the student’s home or in other settings in order for the student to receive a free appropriate public education.
- Assistive technology device means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a student with a disability. Assistive technology devices can range from "low technology" items like pencil grips, markers or paper stabilizers to "high technology" items such as voice synthesizers, Braille readers or voice activated computers.
- Assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a student with a disability in the selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology device.
When a student needs an assistive technology device or service, the Committee needs to consider what instruction the student might require to use the assistive technology device as well as any supports and services the student and/or the student’s teachers may need related to the use of the device.
Supports for School Personnel on Behalf of the Student
Supports for school personnel are those that would help them to more effectively work with the student. This could include, for example, special training for a student’s teacher to meet a unique and specific need of the student. The IEP must describe the supports for school personnel that will be provided on behalf of the student in order for the student to advance toward attaining the annual goals, to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities. These supports for school personnel are those that are needed to meet the unique and specific needs of the student.
Examples of supports that may be provided for school personnel include:
- information on a specific disability and implications for instruction;
- training in use of specific positive behavioral interventions;
- training in the use of American Sign Language;
- assistance with curriculum modifications;
- behavioral consultation with school psychologist, social worker or other behavioral consultant; and/or
- transitional support services.
12-Month Service and/or Program
The Committee may determine that a student requires special education services during the months of July and August in order to prevent substantial regression. Substantial regression means a student’s inability to maintain developmental levels due to a loss of skill or knowledge over the summer months of such severity as to require an inordinate period of review at the beginning of the school year (e.g., eight weeks or more) in order to reestablish and maintain IEP goals and objectives mastered at the end of the previous school year. A student’s need for services during the months of July and August must be made on an individual basis.
The IEP developed for services in July and August should focus on the areas in which the student is expected to experience regression. An IEP developed for July and August may differ from the IEP developed for the school year program.
For school-age and preschool students eligible for 12-month service and/or program, the IEP must indicate the frequency, duration, location and initiation date of the recommended program/service as well as the identity of the provider of services during the months of July and August. Other than for 12 month programs/service, there is no regulatory requirement that an IEP include the name of the provider of service. In addition, for preschool students determined by the CPSE to require a structured learning environment of 12 months duration to prevent substantial regression, a statement of the reasons for such recommendation must be included in the IEP.
Placement decisions for July/August special education programs and services must also be developed consistent with least restrictive environment regulations. Schools are not, however, required to create new programs as a means of providing extended school year services to students with disabilities in integrated settings if it does not provide services at that time for its nondisabled students. However, the Committee could recommend that a student receive his/her extended school year services in a noneducational setting (e.g., a community recreational program that has been arranged for by the parent).
Extended school year programs or services may be provided in a setting that differs from the one the student attends during the school year, provided the Committee determines that the setting is appropriate for the student to benefit from the special education services and to meet his/her IEP goals.
For further information regarding the provision of special education programs/services during the months of July and August, see Extended School Year Programs and Services Questions and Answers found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/finance/2010QA.htm.
Frequency, Duration and Location
The IEP must indicate the frequency (how often), duration (how long) and location (where) each recommended service will be provided. Frequency, duration and location must be stated with sufficient clarity to be understood by all persons involved in the development and implementation of the IEP. This quantifies the school’s commitment of resources to address the student’s needs.
The frequency and/or duration of services must be specific enough so that the extent to which services will be provided is clear. Only in unique situations when the frequency or duration of a service may vary because of a student’s unique needs may frequency or duration be indicated in the IEP as a range (e.g., 30–40 minutes per day as determined by the student’s evidence of fatigue). A range may not be indicated for reasons other than to address a student’s unique needs (e.g., personnel availability or administrative convenience).
Frequency is the number of sessions a service will be provided during a particular time period (e.g., 3 times per week). This must be stated in the IEP in a manner that is appropriate to the type of service being provided. Frequency can be stated, for example, as the number of times per day, week or month that a service will be provided.
Duration is the amount of time within a time period that a service will be provided. Duration can be stated, for example, as the number of minutes per session or per week (e.g., 3 hours per week) or the duration of an activity (e.g., for all writing assignments).
To be considered a special education program or service, the Regulations require a minimum frequency and/or duration for certain special education programs and related services:
- Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) – minimum two hours per week
- Consultant teacher – minimum two hours each week (in any combination of direct and/or indirect services)*
- Resource room programs – minimum three hours per week*
* The Committee may recommend that a student with a disability who needs resource room services in addition to consultant teacher services receive a combination of such services consistent with the student’s IEP for not less than three hours each week.
The "location" of services in the context of a student’s IEP generally refers to the type of environment that is the appropriate place where a particular service, program modification or accommodation would be provided. The decision as to the location where a service will be provided should be made in consideration of the least restrictive environment provisions and in consideration of the student’s overall schedule and participation in general education classes. A Committee should first consider the general education class as the location for special education services including related services rather than a separate location in order to facilitate the student’s maximum participation in general education programs and in the general education curriculum. A student’s IEP must indicate the general education classes in which the student will receive consultant teacher services.
The determination of location for the special education services may influence decisions about the nature and amount of these services and when they should be provided. For example, an appropriate location for the related service of occupational therapy may be the English class during which the student may have opportunities for writing activities.
- The location where services will be provided needs to be stated specifically enough so the Committee’s recommendations regarding location of services is clear (e.g., English class; gymnasium; separate therapy room; cafeteria; playground; community; special class; general education summer school academic program).
- It is generally not sufficient to simply state "within general education classes or outside general education classes" for the location of services.
- The location of services should be more specific than simply stating the provider of services or where the student attends school (e.g., within the public school, at the BOCES Center, at the approved private school).
For preschool students, if the recommendation is for one or more related services or itinerant services, the IEP must indicate the child care location arranged by the parent or other site at which each service will be provided. The location must also indicate where, within that site, the services will be provided (e.g., speech and language therapy in the preschool class).
Projected date of initiation of services
The IEP must indicate the projected date of the initiation of each of the services, supports, program modifications and accommodations recommended in the IEP. The Committee has discretion in documenting the end dates of service.
The following is an example of how special education services may be documented in an IEP:
Applicable Service Delivery Recommendation
Consultant Teacher Services
Direct CT services
60 minutes per session
General education English class
30 minutes per session
The recommended special education programs and services, as documented in the student’s IEP:
- reflect educational needs identified in present levels of performance (i.e., identifies the supports and services to be provided to the student to address each of the student’s identified needs).
- reflect input from parents and, when appropriate, students.
- specify resources needed to accomplish goals and to ensure access to the general education curriculum (or, for preschool students, to participate in appropriate activities).
- provide support while continuing to build independence.
- are only as “special” as are needed by the student.
- promote the student’s participation in the least restrictive environment.
- are age appropriate.
- address transition needs and services for students age 15 and older.
- facilitate active participation by the student in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities with other students, including those without disabilities.
- are written in language the parents and educators can understand.
- are clearly stated as to identify the district’s commitment of resources to assist the student in reaching his or her goals.