Special Education

  • A student with a disability has a mental, physical or emotional impairment that affects his or her educational performance and requires special services and programs. In New York State, special education is provided for preschool students (ages 3 to 5) and school-aged children (ages 5 through 21.) For school-age children, disabilities that may require special education services include autism, deafness, deaf-blindness, emotional disturbance, hearing impairment, learning disability, mental retardation, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, other health impairment, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, or visual impairment (including blindness). Federal and state education laws require each school district to provide students with a "free and appropriate public education" (FAPE) based upon their unique needs.


    Each board of education must establish two committees:

    • Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) for children ages 3-5; and
    • Committee on Special Education (CSE) for students ages 5-21.

    When a parent or teacher believes a child might benefit from special education, the district's committee plays an important role. It reviews referrals from parents and teachers, arranges for student evaluations, and reviews the results. In consultation with the student's parents, the committee makes recommendations about a student's need for special education and an individualized education program (IEP). In addition, the committee must review, at least annually, the student's IEP and arrange for a re-evaluation of the student at least once every three years.


    NYS requires each district provide a continuum of special education services in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). What does LRE mean and how does it relate to the continuum of service options?

    LRE refers to the extent special education services are provided to a student in a setting with the student's non-disabled peers. The continuum of services identifies different service delivery models to provide specially designed instruction to a student with a disability. Others may or may not be provided in settings with non-disabled peers, depending on the needs of the student. 

    If the CSE has determined your child meets the criteria for special education services, the committee may recommend one of the following special education service options:

    The continuum of special education services for school-age students with disabilities is an array of services to meet an individual student's needs that includes:

    • consultant teacher services (direct and/or indirect);
    • resource room services;
    • special class; and
    • related services.

    What are Consultant Teacher (CT) services? 

    CT services are defined as direct and/or indirect services provided to students with a disability in the student's general education classes and/or to such student’s general education teachers.

    • Direct CT services mean specially designed instruction provided to an individual student with a disability or to a group of students with disabilities by a certified special education teacher to help the student(s) benefit from the general education class instruction.
    • Indirect CT services mean consultation provided by a certified special education teacher to a general education teacher to assist the general education teacher in adjusting the learning environment and/or modifying his/her instructional methods to meet the individual needs of a student with a disability.

    What is a resource room program? 

    Resource room program is a special education program for a student with a disability who is in need of specialized supplementary instruction in an individual or small group setting for a portion of the school day. Resource room programs are for the purpose of supplementing the general education or special education classroom instruction of students with disabilities who are in need of such programs. Supplemental instruction is re-teaching of previous content taught in the general education setting and is not used for homework completion.

    What is meant by special class? 

    Special class means a class consisting of students with disabilities who have been grouped together because of similarity of individual needs for the purpose of receiving specially designed instruction in a self-contained setting, meaning that such students are receiving their primary instruction separate from their non-disabled peers. 

    What types of services are included in the definition of related services?

    Related services are those that assist a student in benefiting from other special education services or assist the student in accessing the general curriculum.  Related services means developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a student with a disability.

    To contact the Special Education office, please call 518-677-8527 ext. 1419.


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