New York City has a great number of public and private schools that offer special education services. There are private schools that focus primarily on serving children with disabilites. Moreover, the New York City public education system has a vast array of services that can meet the needs of most children with disabilities. This section provides information regarding the special education services available in the City as well as how to navigate the admissions process.
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Special education is defined by law as “specifically designed instruction that meets the unique needs of a child with a disability.” Depending on your child’s disability, the public school system offers a wide range of services and support, including special education, related services, transition services, supplementary aids, testing accommodations, assistive technology and transitional supportive services. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) was created in 1975 to entitle children with disabilities to “free and appropriate” education. In the past, many students with disabilities were placed in separate classes focusing on their needs and generally did not integrate with the general student population; however, IDEA was revised in 1997 to ensure that children with special abilities have access to a general education curriculum, and new laws in New York require the districts to place students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment possible. Trying to navigate the admissions process for a normal child is difficult. The process for obtaining the appropriate services for a child with disabilities is much more involved and time consuming. We can help. In addition, good sources of information regarding your public school options include Advocates for Children (www.advocatesforchildren.org/) and Inside Schools (www.insideschools.org). There are also several private schools that provide excellent special education programs, and many boast that their students have successfully pursued postsecondary education. There are several oraganizations in New York City that provide services for families with children with special needs. To obtain information about these programs, please click on the following link for New York City Special Education Service.
To obtain public special education services, you must follow the following four-step process: 1) Refer your child for evaluation and provide written consent for your child to be evaluated 2) Evaluate your child’s disabilities by a school district’s evaluator or a private evaluator 3) Develop an Individual Education Plan 4) Receive a special education placement Please click on the following link to learn more about how to obtain public special education services in New York City.
The New York City private schools that offer special education services tend to be small and well structured. The classes typically vary from six to twelve students with various specialists who assist children during class. The classes also tend to serve students of mixed ages, since children with disabilities learn at varying rates that do not necessarily correlate with age. Most importantly, all of the good private schools aim to integrate students with disabilities into regular classes as soon as possible. Finally, the private schools can be very costly; however, the track records of the good ones are undisputable, mainstreaming special education students at very early ages and often sending some students to elite colleges.