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What is Special Education?

Special education is specially designed instruction that addresses the unique needs of a student eligible to receive special education services. Special education is provided at no cost to parents and includes the related services a student needs to access her/his educational program.

Early Intervention (ages 0-2): 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. Please visit the Suffolk County Heath Services page for additional information. NOTE: Early Intervention for ages 0-2 is not managed through the Central Islip School District.  Parents/Caregivers must reach out to to the Suffolk County Health Services Department. 

School Age (ages 3-21): Students with disabilities who are determined eligible for special education and related services are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Services are provided to eligible students according to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in preschools, elementary, and secondary schools, or other appropriate settings. 

What laws govern special education?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 is the federal law that guarantees FAPE is provided to eligible students with disabilities. The New York State state regulations on special education can be found on the New York State Education Department's Website

What is the difference between Section 504 and Special Education?
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a federal civil rights law which prohibits discrimination against students based on disability. Section 504 ensures that students with disabilities have equal access to educational programs, services, and activities. Special education is governed by the IDEA. Accommodations and/or related aids and services provided under Section 504 are included in a Section 504 Plan. Special Education is different from Section 504 because special education requires school districts to provide eligible students with specially designed instruction in accordance with an IEP.  Students eligible for special education, however, are still protected from discrimination under Section 504 and have appropriate accommodations and/or related aides and services included as part of their IEP.  Additional information and resources on Section 504 can be found on the New York State Education Department's Website

What rights do parents and students have under the law?
Parents and students have numerous rights under special education law. These rights are outlined on the New Your State Education Department's Website

How can the Committee for Special Education (CSE) assist with special education issues?
The Central Islip Committee for Special Education (CSE) provides support to parents, guardians, educators and students with disabilities. The CSE is a neutral party who advocates for a fair process. The CSE process is governed by an authorized Assistant Director for Special Education, teachers, specialists (Social Worker, Psychologist, Speech and Language Pathologist, OT/PT, etc.), and the parent/caregiver.  The CSE is based on a referral system starting with the Building Principal and is the most appropriate means to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for students with disabilities.