Developing the Individualized Education Program (IEP)

The IEP Recommendation

General Considerations for IEP Development

Special Considerations for IEP Development

Steps to Determine Programs and Types of Services

The Continuum of Preschool Special Education Programs and/or Services

Determining the Frequency, Duration, Intensity and Location of Special Education Programs and/or Services

Guidance for Determining the Provision of Related Services

Indicators for CPSE Recommendation of Frequency of Related Services

Determining Related Services: Group or Individual Sessions and Direct or Indirect Instruction

Related Services: Speech and Language Pathology

Related Services: Occupational Therapy

Related Services: Physical Therapy

Related Services: Counseling (Child, Parent, Family)

Guidance for Determining the Provision of Special Education Itinerant Services

Guidance in Determining Options According to the Preschool Continuum of Special Education Programs and/or Services

Extended School Year Programming

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The IEP Recommendation

If the child has been determined to be eligible for special education programs and/or services, the CPSE develops an Individualized Education Program (IEP). In developing the recommendations for the IEP, the CPSE considers the results of the evaluations, the child’s strengths and needs, the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child and consideration of special factors. The IEP recommendation:

Note: In developing its recommendation, the CPSE must identify transportation options for the child and encourage parents to transport their child at public expense where cost-effective.

General Considerations for IEP Development

The following general considerations embody effective practices for evaluators, with respect to individual needs and recommendations, and CPSE members, with respect to recommendations regarding programs and services for preschool children with disabilities.

Special Considerations for IEP Development

In developing its recommendation, the CPSE:

Steps to Determine Programs and Types of Services

These steps are predicated on the principles listed in the general considerations for evaluators and CPSE members and on the assumption that discussion will take place at the CPSE meeting regarding all the factors applicable to the child. Initial impressions as to appropriate services must be flexible and may change as other factors are discussed during the committee meeting. The decision-making process must be guided by the principle of least restrictive environment appropriate for each individual child. (See page 1 of this document.)

Step 1
Review evaluation findings to determine eligibility as a preschool student with a disability.

Step 2
Report the present levels of educational performance and the preschool student's individual 
strengths and needs.

 

Step 3
Identify measurable goals and short-term objectives, evaluation criteria, procedures 
and schedules including schedule for informing parents of progress.

 

Step 4

  1. Determine special education program and/or services, including parent counseling and training.
  2. Determine frequency, intensity, duration and location of services including group and/or individual sessions.
  3. Determine projected date for initiation and date of review.
  4. If eligible, determine twelve-month services and programs and provider.

 

Step 5

Make recommendation for placement based on individual needs of each child and provided in the least restrictive environment.


The Continuum of Preschool Special Education Programs and/or Services

Related Services Only
SEIT Only
Related Services and SEIT
Half-Day Class
Full-Day Class
In-State Residential

Notes: The CPSE is required by law and regulation to first consider the appropriateness of providing related services only; or special education itinerant teacher services (SEIT) only; or related services in combination with SEIT services; or a half-day preschool program or a full-day preschool program.

The CPSE is required to first consider providing special education services in a setting where age-appropriate peers without disabilities are typically found, prior to recommending the provision of special education services in a setting which includes only preschool children with disabilities.

The CPSE is required to include a written report of its recommendation that includes the results of the evaluation and the reasons for recommendation. The report must include a statement of the reasons why less restrictive placements were not recommended when the recommendation is for the provision of special education services in a setting with no regular contact where age-appropriate peers without disabilities are found.

Determining the Frequency, Duration, Intensity and Location of Special Education Programs and/or Services

The following guidance describes factors which influence the determination of special education programs and/or services. It is designed to assist the CPSE members in carrying out their responsibilities. Appropriate recommendations and final decisions for each child are made with careful consideration of the factors which are relevant to each child's individualized education program.

There are a number of factors which should be considered when making recommendations regarding the frequency, duration, intensity and location of services. These include:

Guidance for Determining the Provision of Related Services

Note: "Determining the provision of related services" applies to related services only as well as related services in combination with SEIT or related services as part of a special class program.

Related services, as defined in Section 200.1 of the Regulations of the Commissioner, means developmental, corrective and other supportive services as are required to assist a student with a disability and include:

Indicators for CPSE Recommendation of Frequency of Related Services

Note: Before recommending the provision of related services as part of a special class or a special class in an integrated setting, the goals of the IEP should be carefully reviewed. If the teacher is able to address those goals appropriately, related services should not be recommended. If related services are recommended, the goals of these services should be clearly delineated so as to avoid unnecessary or duplicate services from teachers and therapists, thereby eliminating the need for related services when the child does not require such services.

A. Less Than One Time Per Week

The child needs periodic or intermittent services and supports to achieve in the current setting such as:

B. One To Two Times Per Week

Note: Current regulations do not allow speech-language pathology services to be provided less than two 30 minute sessions per week.

C. Two To Three Times Per Week

D. Four Or More Times Per Week

E. Indicators for Referral to CPSE to Meet and Possibly Amend IEP

Note: When a child requires one or more related services and/or is also receiving special education itinerant services or a special class program, frequencies of each service recommended should take into consideration how the total service needs of the child fit into his or her daily schedule, as well as the ability of other service providers to address IEP goals and reinforce skills.

Determining Related Services: Group or Individual Sessions and Direct or Indirect Instruction

Children often receive individual related services when being introduced to or when working on a particular component of a skill, when attention and distractibility are issues, when privacy is of concern, when interfering behaviors are present, or when being introduced to the use of technology or adaptive equipment. Individual services may also be needed when the provider must individually and continually respond to the changing needs of a child during intervention.

Preschool children with disabilities whose individual related services are provided in a setting with nondisabled peers often receive related services that are integrated into the routine of the classroom. This is particularly appropriate when the child's IEP goals and objectives address interaction with peers, including oral communication and/or objectives that can be achieved in that setting. In addition, IEP goals can be addressed in the child's learning environment.

Similarly, more than one child with a disability in the same setting may receive related services in a group when either motivation or peer interaction is an important factor and when the expected outcomes are either similar or compatible for group intervention.

The level of technical expertise needed to help a child achieve stated goals and objectives should be considered when determining the needed services. Children who have specific delays or impaired development may need hands-on intervention from related service personnel. Other children may need fewer related services as they may be able to achieve their goals through home or classroom-based activities that are coordinated with related service personnel. In addition, services may be coordinated to assist other staff or caregivers in carrying over therapeutic techniques and in modifying the environment to facilitate the child's participation.

Related Services: Speech-Language Pathology

The determination of need for speech-language pathology services and the intensity of that service are dependent upon the identified need in one or more of the following domains:

Determination of the frequency, intensity, duration, and location of services are not based solely on severity of delay or dysfunction in the above domains. An estimate of time required to meet the short-term objectives should be made. The following mediating factors should also be considered:

Indicators for CPSE Recommendation of Frequency of Speech-Language Pathology Services

  1. Two To Three Times Per Week - (This frequency is the most typical service recommendation.)
  1. Four To Five Sessions Per Week - (This service frequency is unusual.)
  1. Indicators for Referral to CPSE to Meet and Possibly Amend IEP

Related Services: Occupational Therapy

The determination of need for occupational therapy (OT) services and the intensity of that service is dependent upon identified need in one or more of the following domains:

Determination of the frequency, intensity, duration and location of services is not based solely on the severity of the child's delay or dysfunction in the above domains, but should include the estimated time needed to reach the goals. The following mediating factors should also be considered:

Indicators for CPSE Recommendation of Frequency of Occupational Therapy Services

Frequency of services may be modified based on the service delivery model (push-in versus pull-out) and the willingness of other staff to follow through with therapeutic interventions.

  1. Less Than One Time Per Week
  1. One To Two Times Per Week - (This is the most common frequency.)

  1. Two To Three Times Per Week
  1. Four To Five Times Per Week - (This service frequency is most unusual.)
  1. Indicators for Referral to CPSE To Meet and Possibly Amend IEP

Related Services: Physical Therapy

The determination of need for physical therapy services and the intensity of that service is dependent upon identified need in one or more of the following domains:

Determination of the frequency, intensity, duration, and location of services is not based merely on severity of delay or disability in the above domains, as children with problems in motor performance are not a homogeneous group. Therefore, the following mediating factors should also be considered:

Note: A physical therapist assistant provides physical therapy care under the supervision of a physical therapist. A 1998 amendment to Section 6738 of the Education Law effective through June 30, 2005 states that a physical therapist assistant may provide services without the on-site supervision of a licensed physical therapist under certain circumstances. Periodic treatment and evaluation by the supervising physical therapist should be indicated on the plan of care, as determined by the child's needs, but must not exceed every twelfth visit or 30 days, whichever occurs first.

Indicators for CPSE Recommendation of Frequency of Physical Therapy Services

  1. Less Than One Time Per Week
  1. One To Two Times Per Week - (This is the most common frequency.)
  1. Two To Three Times Per Week
  1. Four To Five Times Per Week- (This service frequency is most unusual.)
  1. Indicators for Referral to CPSE To Meet and Possibly Amend IEP

Note: A physical therapy referral on behalf of the CPSE from a physician, dentist, podiatrist, or nurse practitioner may indicate that services should be ongoing even when the physical therapist has indicated discharge is appropriate. When services continue, the rationale should be clearly documented in regard to the recommendation to discharge made by the physical therapist and the referral to continue made by the referring practitioner.

Related Services: Counseling (Child, Parent, Family)

The determination of need for counseling services is dependent upon the child demonstrating a significant delay or disability in social-emotional development and/or behavioral/emotional problems that are persistent and pervasive which impact the child's ability to learn or acquire skills in one or more functional areas. Children who may require counseling services would demonstrate behavioral characteristics such as:

Determination of the frequency, intensity, duration and location of services is not based merely on severity of delay or dysfunction in the above domains, but must also consider the following mediating factors:

The distinction between individual counseling services and counseling offered within the classroom to help the child with anxiety or aggressive behavior as behaviors occur should be considered. Also, the intervention may include family counseling or work with the parent and/or other caregivers, as well as direct work with the child.

Indicators for CPSE Recommendation of Frequency of Counseling Services

  1. One To Two Times Per Week
  1. More Than Two Times Per Week
  1. Indicators for Referral to CPSE To Meet and Possibly Amend IEP

Guidance for Determining the Provision of Special Education Itinerant Services

Section 4410 of the Education Law defines Special Education Itinerant Services (more commonly referred to as SEIT) and states that such services shall provide direct individual and/or group instruction to preschoolers with disabilities by a special education teacher of an approved program at a site selected by the parent, including, but not limited to, an approved or licensed Pre-K or Head Start program, the student's home, a hospital, a State facility, or a child care location.

SEIT services are typically provided to support a child with a disability in an early childhood setting. The services of the special educator are provided for two or more hours per week but generally not for the entire time the child is attending the early childhood setting. Children who require continuous oversight of their entire program by a special educator or a significant number of hours to achieve goals may be better served in a special class, with first consideration being given to an integrated setting.

SEIT services may also be provided in the child's home when the family chooses or is not able to enroll their child in an early childhood setting or when health or medical concerns prevent the child from participating in such a setting. Providing the SEIT service in conjunction with informal groupings, such as library story hours or play groups in homes, may help the child who is receiving SEIT alone at home achieve goals of interaction with peers or other skills associated with future success in school.

SEIT services may be provided alone or in combination with one or more related services. While most children receive SEIT services from a teacher certified in special education or speech and hearing, children with hearing impairments may require a certified teacher of the deaf, children with visual impairments may require a certified teacher of the blind and visually impaired, and bilingual children may require a certified bilingual teacher of special education.

The determination of the need for SEIT services and the frequency, intensity, duration and location are dependent upon identified needs in one or more of the following areas:

The frequency of SEIT services is determined by a broad range of guiding principles and mediating factors that include, but are not limited to, the following:

Preschool children with disabilities who receive special education services in a setting with nondisabled peers often receive individual SEIT services provided in the company of his/her typically developing peers. This is particularly appropriate when the child's IEP goals and objectives address interaction with peers. Occasionally, individual services are needed to focus on and/or reinforce a particular skill outside of a group setting.

SEIT services may be provided to a group of children when reflected on each child's IEP and when the children have similar instructional needs. This would be appropriate when the children's goals are similar or compatible with group intervention and when the service provision continues to include interaction with other nondisabled peers. SEIT services should always work toward facilitating the child's participation in activities with the nondisabled peers in the setting.

Providing SEIT services to a small group should not be used to segregate children with disabilities into a mini-group within an integrated setting. In addition, SEIT services include those services delivered directly to the child and indirect services provided to parents, teachers, and other caregivers. Indirect services facilitate the ability of these caregivers to reinforce targeted skills throughout other daily activities and to modify the curriculum, their instructional methods or the learning environment to facilitate the child's independence and participation in appropriate activities.

Indicators for CPSE Recommendation of Frequency of SEIT Services

  1. Two To Three Hours Per Week
  1. Four To Six Hours Per Week

  1. Seven To Ten Hours Per Week
Note: Children who fit this profile may also be considered for SEIT and related services with a paraprofessional or Special Class. A teaching assistant can provide direct instruction under general supervision of a teacher whereas a teacher's aide may not provide direct instruction. Where an assistant would be assigned to provide instruction, a teacher's aide would be assigned to manage and support the child in the educational environment. In general, when more than ten hours per week of SEIT services are being considered to meet a child's individual needs, it may be advisable for the Committee to consider whether other types of programs or services may be more appropriate.
  1. Indicators for Referral to CPSE To Meet and Possibly Amend IEP

Guidance in Determining Options According to the Preschool Continuum of Special Education Programs and/or Services

Related Services Only

May be appropriate if:

SEIT Only

May be appropriate if:

Related Services and SEIT

May be appropriate if:

Special class in an integrated setting should be considered before a special class in a setting with only children with disabilities. Placement in a setting that does not include age-appropriate peers without disabilities shall be considered only when the nature and severity of the child's disability is such that education in a less restrictive environment with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.

Half-Day Class

May be appropriate if:

Full-Day Class

May be appropriate if:

In-State Residential Program

Note: In-state residential programs should only be used on a very limited basis for children with severe disabilities who require habilitation to support their education.

May be appropriate if:

Note: The CPSE must notify the State Education Department of its intent to recommend a residential program prior to its request for program and funding approval.

Extended School Year Programming

Extended school year services may be appropriate for some preschool students with disabilities who require a structured learning environment to prevent substantial regression. Substantial regression means a student’s inability to maintain developmental levels due to a loss of skill or knowledge during the months of July and August of such severity as to require an inordinate period of review at the beginning of the school year to reestablish and maintain IEP goals and objectives mastered at the end of the previous school year. As a guideline for determining eligibility for an extended school year program, a review period of eight weeks or more would indicate substantial regression has occurred. The CPSE is responsible for determining a student's eligibility for an extended school year program and recommending the appropriate July and August special education program and/or related services needed to prevent substantial regression.

The Department has previously issued guidelines on the provision of services to students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment during the months of July and August. The publication, The Provision of Extended School Year Programs for Students with Disabilities in Integrated Settings (August 1996), provides more information.