The Division of Services for Children with Special Needs incorporates three separate programs. The Early Intervention Program is for children birth to three years of age with developmental delays. The Preschool Special Education Program is for children three to five years old with disabilities, and the Children with Special Health Care Needs Program (incorporating the Physically Handicapped Children’s Program) serves clients birth to 21 years of age.
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Early Intervention is a comprehensive program designed to enhance the development of infants and toddlers with delays, minimize potential delay among children seriously at risk and assist families in meeting their children’s special needs. Early intervention services are most effective when they take place in the child’s natural environment and when there is active family involvement. The division ensures that families and children receive appropriate services and/or referrals. Approximately 80% of children receive services at home, with speech and language the most common service authorized. The state and the county share costs of the program.
Who is Eligible for Services Through This Program?
Some examples of children under the age of three years who are eligible for services:
Children who have a 33% delay in one area of development
Children who have a 25% delays in two developmental areas
Children who have a diagnosed condition which leads to a developmental delay
How Do I Refer My Child?
All referrals should be made to the Department of Health Services, Division of Services for Children with Special Needs by calling the dedicated referral line (631) 853-3100, by fax (631) 853-2310, or by the web site referral information form.
Where Can I Get My Child Evaluated?
An initial service coordinator will bring the family a complete list of approved evaluators.
Do I Pay For This Evaluation?
Evaluations are done at no cost to the parent.
Suffolk County’s 71 school districts’ Committees on Preschool Special Education determine eligibility and services for children aged three to five years old. County representatives ensure appropriate placement of preschool children with disabilities in least restrictive environments.
What Is Preschool Special Education?
The New York State Education Department (SED), Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities (VESID) oversees a statewide preschool special education program with school districts, municipalities, approved providers and parents. Evaluations and specially planned individual or group instructional services or programs are provided to eligible children, Ages 3-5, who have a disability that affects their learning.
Where Can I Obtain More Information?
Information regarding preschool special education may be obtained by contacting your local school district Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE).
Children with Special Health Care Needs
The Children with Special Health Care Needs Program performs various functions to assure that children up to the age of 21 with certain disabilities and/or chronic health conditions receive quality care while limiting the financial impact on families. Service coordinators provide case management to empower families to meet challenges of caring for a child with special health care needs and assist families in accessing educational services, as well as community resources.
What Does The Children With Special Health Care Needs Program (Formerly Physically Handicapped Children's Program, PHCP) Offer Suffolk County Residents?
1. It will insure that every child in Suffolk County has a medical home by disseminating information about the various health care systems such as Medicaid, Social Security, Physically Handicapped Children's Program and Child Health Plus.
2. Most children with suspected chronic health problems can obtain a diagnostic evaluation to enable physicians to establish a diagnosis and a medical care plan. There is no financial eligibility requirement for this program.
3. Children up to 21 years of age who have physically disabling conditions or severe chronic illness deemed eligible by the medical director may receive assistance with non-reimbursed medical expenses, including surgical procedures, medications, and devices such as braces, wheelchairs, hearing aides and other medical equipment and supplies. Families must meet financially eligibility standards. This program also provides funding for physically handicapping orthodontic conditions.