Public Health – Preschool & Special Needs Programs

Preschool (3-5 years):
The Department of Health is responsible for the fiscal and contractual administration of the preschool special needs program. This program is the local implementation of the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), part B, which created an entitlement to free appropriate public education for children ages 3-5 years with disabilities or developmental delays. Referrals for a child are made to the school district in which the child resides. Each school district has a Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) chairperson who obtains appropriate consents from the family and provides to them a list of approved evaluators.

A Department of Health municipal representative is a member of the CPSE for each child that resides is Schoharie County. A CPSE meeting is held to determine eligibility and appropriate services in a least restrictive environment. Direct services include related services (therapy in the home or community setting), center-based special education services and transportation.

Early Intervention:

Our Mission: To identify and evaluate as early as possible those infants and toddlers whose healthy development is compromised and provide for appropriate intervention to improve child and family development.

Young Children Learn and Develop Differently. Early Intervention is a family-centered and community-based program. We support parents in meeting their responsibilities to nurture and enhance their children’s development. We encourage opportunities for full participation of children with disabilities in their communities by ensuring services are delivered in natural environments to the maximum extent appropriately.

Any child under the age of three that has a disability or developmental delay may be eligible for services through the Early Intervention Program.

If your doctor or someone you know has concerns that your child may have a developmental delay or disability you can be referred to the Schoharie County Early Intervention Program.

Your family will be assigned a service coordinator. This person will help you understand the program and talk about your concerns for your child. He/she will assist you in getting an evaluation scheduled. The evaluation will help you identify your child’s strengths and needs. It will also determine your child’s strengths and needs. It will also determine your child’s eligibility for the program. If your child is eligible for the program an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) will be created. The IFSP will help your family identify their concerns, priorities and resources. It will assist you in getting the services to help meet your child’s needs.

Child Find:

Child Find is a component of the Early Intervention Program that assures that children at-risk (birth-3 years) will receive the help needed for the best growth and development in the early years. Child Find ensures tracking and screening of children at-risk of developmental delay through ongoing contact with families and the primary care provider. This program can provide direct developmental screenings when no other resource is available.


Who are the Children at Risk?

  • Infants born before 33 weeks of gestation (pregnancy).
  • Infants born weighing less than 1501 grams (about 3 lbs. 4 oz.)
  • Infants who spent 10 days or more in a neonatal or special care unit.
  • Newborns who have failed the initial hearing screen and have had no follow-up.
  • Other circumstances that place a child at developmental risk.
  • Infants whose parents have concerns about their development.

Early Childhood Development:
Children learn about the world by looking, touching, tasting, hearing and making sounds. The first three years are crucial in a child’s development. Although each child is an individual, they still learn to do many things around the same time. For more information see YOUR CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT

Developing Skills Include:

  • Communication -addresses babbling, vocalizing, listening and understanding.
  • Gross Motor -focuses on arm, body/leg movements, rolling over and walking.
  • Fine Motor -hand and finger movements, grasping toys, eye-hand coordination.
  • Problem Solving -learning, playing with toys.
  • Personal/Social -solitary social play, play with others, social smile, peek-a-boo.

Developmental Screening:
This is a brief assessment usually done at 6-month intervals up to age 3. This assessment looks at all areas of a child’s development. It is designed to identify children who may need a more comprehensive evaluation.

Who Can Make a Referral?
Any parent or other individual (with parental permission) who has a concern regarding an infant or toddler’s development can make a referral.

If you are worried, unsure, or have questions about your child’s development, please call (518) 295-8705.