Preschool Special Education Program

The Preschool Special Education Program provides services to children who are 3 to 5 years old with developmental delays and/or educational needs. Eligibility is based on the results of a multi-disciplinary evaluation that is at no direct cost to the family. The local school district's Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) determines eligibility, recommends appropriate special education and/or related services and creates an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each eligible child.

pic 1   pic 2 

The New York State Education Department (NYSED) administers, through local school districts, the Preschool Special Education Programs for preschool students with disabilities, 3 to 5 years of age. The Nassau County Department of Health contracts with providers and pays for these services along with NYSED.

Parents seeking additional information about preschool special education program and services should visit New York State Education Department website.


ReferralIf a child receives early intervention services as an infant or toddler up to age three and continues to need services, the ongoing service coordinator can assist with transition planning and making a referral to your school district's Committee on  Preschool Special Education (CPSE).

More information can be found at the NYS Health Department website on transition from EI to Preschool Special Education.

If a preschool-age child (3–5 years) did not receive early intervention services and therereferral

are concerns regarding possible educational delays, the parent or professionals who know the child may make a referral to the chairperson of the school district's CPSE. The Chair will assist the parent in completing the referral process. Each school district CPSE is made up of the parent, teachers, school district representatives, teachers, a representative from the County Health Department, parent member, etc.

Anyone with concerns for a preschooler can contact the local school district and make a referral to the CPSE. While typically the parents refer their child to the CPSE, a doctor, designated person in a public agency, someone from an Early Childhood Direction Center, an approved preschool program or the Early Intervention Program (EIP) can make a referral.

Find the phone number for your school district's CPSE office here: School District CPSE Contacts (PDF).


EvaluationWhen a child is referred to the CPSE, the parent is given a list of NYSED approved evaluators that provide multi-disciplinary education evaluations.

After an approved evaluator is selected by the parent and the parent signs a consent form, the child will be evaluated at no cost to the family.

A copy of the evaluation report, including a summary of the evaluation, will be provided to the parent and to other CPSE members.


A meeting will be scheduled with your school district CPSE to discuss the evaluation results and determine if your child id eligible for the program.

  • If your child is found not eligible for special education programs and/or services, the reasons will be provided in writing.Meeting
  • If your child is found to be eligible for the Preschool Special Education Program, the CPSE will create individual goals and recommend programs or services to meet the child's needs in order to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

The Preschool Special Education Program is mandated by New York State Education Law and the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Act.

Funding for these special education programs and services is provided by New York State and the Nassau County Department of Health.

School District Resources


Provider Resources

Provider Resources

Parent Resources

Parent Resources

 Early Childhood Direction Center 

The Long Island Early Childhood Direction Center assists families and professionals in in meeting the needs of children with disabilities, birth through age five, by providing information and training about available service options and service delivery systems.

Early CHildhood Website

Nassau County Department of Health

The Nassau County Department of Health Office of Children with Special Needs is responsible for the Early Intervention Program for children with developmental delays from birth to three, and contracts for approved therapeutic services in the Preschool Special Education program for children from three to five years old.

For more information, please call the Preschool Special Education program at 516-227-8673 or send an email to the Preschool Program at email the Preschool Program .

Terms and Abbreviations 

Terms and AbbreviationsThere are common terms and abbreviations used in the Preschool Special Education system that are important for parents to understand.

The Nassau County Preschool Special Education Program Training Committee has developed a Glossary of Terms and Abbreviations (PDF) to assist the Preschool community in understanding the terms and language specific to the population we serve.