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A child typically ages out of Early Intervention (EI) at 3 years old. At this point, the EI service coordinator will make  recommendations to school districts and families to develop appropriate Individual Education Plans for preschoolers ages three to five. These plans assure that services are delivered in the child's natural environment to the greatest extent possible and/or at a specialized pre-school program that is accepted by the parents in, or as close as possible to their school district.

Every parent has the right to be part of this planning process and should be present when future plans are discussed for his or her child. Services may be provided in-home or out-of-home.

The Department of Health has a parent advocacy program to assist families with the preschool planning process -- the Preschool Educational Program (PEP). If you have any questions or concerns about this process, speak to the committee on special education within your school district and your EI service coordinator. 

Depending on the severity of the disability, a parent may want to think about registering their child with the Department of Community Mental Health to see if they meet eligibility requirements for special services. These requirements are established within the department through the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). If you have questions about registration, please call (914) 995-5244.

If found eligible by OPWDD, services that might be available include:

  • Family Support Services such as respite, recreation, reimbursement, etc. (income eligibility requirements might apply)
  • Home and Community-Based (HCBS) Waiver services (additional eligibility criteria and application required)
  • Environmental Modifications (to accommodate physical disabilities associated with the developmental disability)
  • Medicaid Service Coordination (for Medicaid and HCBS Waiver recipients)
  • Out-of-home respite