Children with Special Needs
The Children with Special Needs Program is one of the three departments of the Public Health Service, along with Environmental Health and Prevention/Patient Services in Schenectady County. Families enrolled in one of the CWSN programs should review: HIPAA Privacy Practices Notification The main components of the Children with Special Needs (CWSN) program in Schenectady County are:
- Early Intervention Program
- Preschool Special Education
- Children with Special Health Care Needs
1. Early Intervention Program This program has been in effect since July 1, 1993 to serve infants and toddlers, ages birth to three, who have developmental delays. The New York State Department of Health is the lead agency for the implementation of Article 25 of the Public Health Law to comply with Part C of the Federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) regulations. This is a strength-based, family-centered program designed to serve children and their families in their natural environments, usually the home, or wherever the child spends the majority of their time each day. A trained Early Intervention Service Coordinator assists families as they learn about the Early Intervention Program and with the process of selecting an approved evaluator. To be eligible for services, children must be under 3 years of age and have a confirmed disability or established developmental delay, as defined by the State, in one or more of the following areas of development: physical, cognitive, communication, social-emotional, and/or adaptive. Pending eligibility, the Early Intervention Program offers a variety of therapeutic and support services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. There is no cost for EI services or evaluations to the parents; however the county will bill the family’s third party insurance or Medicaid as regulated by NY State to offset the cost of the program. Services that are available under EI for eligible children include:
- family education and counseling, home visits, and parent support groups
- special instruction
- speech pathology and audiology
- occupational therapy
- physical therapy
- psychological services
- service coordination
- nursing services
- nutrition services
- social work services
- vision services
- assistive technology devices and services
For Referrals to Early Intervention (if you are a resident of Schenectady County), please contact: Schenectady County Public Health Services 107 Nott Terrace, Suite 306 Schenectady, New York 12308
Main: 518-386-2815 ext 230 Fax: 518-386-2801
The New York State Department of Health has produced a helpful booklet for parents: The Early Intervention Program: A Parent's Guide, is also available in Adobe Portable Document format. (PDF, 278KB, 43 pg.) For information on how to become an approved New York State Early Intervention Service Provider, call 518-473-7016 or visit: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/infants_children/early_intervention/
2. Preschool Special Education This system serves children ages three to five who are approved by their individual school district’s Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) as being eligible for services in accordance with Part 200 of the New York State Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. The State Education Department is the lead agency for the implementation of Part B of the Federal Regulations. If your child received early intervention services as an infant or toddler up to age three, and may still need special education services, your service coordinator will assist you with transition planning and making a referral to the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE). If your preschool-age child (3-5 years old) did not receive early intervention services, but has some delays or lags in development such as difficulty in talking, moving around, thinking, or learning or is facing physical or behavioral challenges — you, or professionals who know your child, may make a referral to the chairperson of your school district's Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) who will assist you in completing the referral process. For a referral to the Preschool Special Education Program, contact the CPSE office of the school district where you reside.
3. Children with Special Health Care Needs The Children with Special Health Care Needs Program (CSHCN) is a statewide public health program that provides information and referral services for health and related areas for families of CSHCN. This program is a referral linkage system to provide for those children ages birth to 21 who have, or are suspected of having, a serious or chronic physical, developmental, behavioral, or emotional condition and who require a health or related service of a type or amount beyond what is required by children generally. The NYS Department of Health is committed to achieving a statewide system of care for CSHCN and their families that links them to appropriate health and related services, identifies gaps and barriers and assists in their resolution, and assures access to quality health care. Eligibility is determined by the county health units.
For Information: Call the New York State Health Department’s Growing Up Healthy Hotline, 1-800-522-5006; or contact Schenectady County CWSN at 386-2815.
Disability Related Web Links:
NYS Education Department Early Childhood Direction Centers The Early Childhood Direction Centers (ECDCs) provide information about programs and services for young children, ages birth through five, who have physical, mental, or emotional disabilities and help families obtain services for their children.
Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped Located within the Office of Children and Family Services, the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped (CBVH) is responsible for the administration of programs and services to legally blind individuals to enhance independence and facilitate opportunities to participate in the community. CBVH provides a range of services for individuals who are legally blind through the independent living and vocational rehabilitation provisions of the Federal Rehabilitation Act, as well as through programs serving children and older individuals who are blind. For information visit the CBVH website or call (866) 871-3000.
Parent to Parent of New York State This is a parent-run organization, with nine offices statewide, that brings parents of children with disabilities together with other parents who have children with the same or similar disabilities. Parents can discuss similar problems, successes, share information, and provide each other with support.
ZERO TO THREE - National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families
107 Nott Terrace
Schenectady, NY 12308