Continuing my series on resources available to parents of children with special needs, today I focus on mobility challenged children. Some of the information is repeated from earlier posts. I present it again for new readers.
Even if a child who is mobility challenged has no learning or developmental issues, parents still need to be in communication with the county and the school district to create a plan for education and rehabilitation.
I recommend that you consult your pediatrician to get whatever information he or she has to help you support your child. Many health care providers will provide information about community and other resources. Also, call Parent 2 Parent at (631) 434-619, ask for Valerie. She will match you with a telephone support parent who has a mobility impaired child. The informational and emotional support may be quite helpful for you.
Early intervention is for children up to age three. The Nassau County Early Intervention (EI) Program can be reached at (516) 227-8661. Suffolk County’s number is (631) 853-3100. NY State’s information is http://www.health.ny.gov/community/infants_children/early_intervention.
If your child received early intervention, an Early Intervention Officer must contact your school district at least 120 days before your child begins preschool. A transition conference has to be held at least 90 days before he or she turns three years of age. An initial evaluation is performed by specialists at your school district then an individualized education plan (IEP) is created by the Committee for Pre-School Special Education (CPSE) which is usually composed of a director of special education or a district psychologist, therapists, special educators and you the parents. Here is an online document that explains the process: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/preschool/eval3-4yr803.pdf
Once your child turns five years old, then he/she should be reevaluated by the school district. A CSE (Committee for Special Education) is convened to develop an IEP (Individual Education Plan) for kindergarten and beyond. Therapies, procedures and accommodations are discussed before goals are set to help your child in school. School districts must, by federal mandate (IDEA, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act); try to find a way to include your child within the district in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). However, if the CSE finds it necessary, they may send your child out of district. By federal mandate, they must provide transportation. These web sites have information about the special education process starting in elementary school: A Parent’s Guide to Special Education from New York State: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/parentguide.htm
and New York State United Teachers Guide to Special Education: http://nysut.org/specialed/faq.html
Once your child reaches twenty-one, the school district is no longer under any obligation to provide any services. Transition begins by age fourteen: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/transition. Most colleges and universities provide services for their students with mobility challenges.
Various government and non-profit organizations offer financial assistance. Nassau County’s financial assistance program can be reached at (516)227-8665. New York State has a list of agencies that provide assistance: http://otda.ny.gov/programs
The following are web sites about various programs for persons with mobility impairments.
- Nassau County: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Health/childhealth.html
- Nassau County Office for Physically Challenged: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/OPC/index.html
- Let All The Children Play, accessible playground in Eisenhower Park: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/CountyExecutive/NewsRelease/2012/LetAllTheChildrenPlayAccessibleParkandPlayground.html
- Able Ride: http://www.nicebus.com/Accessibility/Able-Ride/index.html
- Suffolk County Emergency Evacuation and General Resources: http://www.suffolkcountyny.gov/Departments/FireRescueandEmergencyServices/OfficeofEmergencyManagement/PeoplewithSpecialNeeds/JointEmergencyEvacuationProgram.aspx
- Organizations Serving Suffolk County: http://www.litbl.org/outreach/community.html
- Long Island Parent Magazine's excellent resource list: http://liparentonline.com/special_needs_developmental_physical_disabilities_services.html
- The Children’s Learning Center: http://www.thechildrenslearningcenter.org/about.cfm
- United Cerebral Palsy web site: http://ucpn.org/index.php/site/services/
- Abilities is an organization of interest: http://www.abilitiesonline.org/Programs.aspx
- Henry Viscardi School: http://www.henryviscardischool.org/abouthvs
- Parent to Parent: http://parenttoparentnys.org/index.php/news/long-island-resources
- Mid Island YJCC, Plainview: http://www.miyjcc.org/SpecialNeeds/Our-Programs.cfm
- Barry and Florence Friedberg JCC, Oceanside: http://www.friedbergjcc.org/programs/specialneeds.php
- Sid Jacobson JCC, East Hills: http://www.sjjcc.org/supportspecialservices/special-needs/
- Suffolk YJCC, Commack: http://www.suffolkyjcc.org/html/butler.shtml
- Easter Seals: http://ny.easterseals.com/site/PageServer?pagename=NYDR_services
- Greater Long Island Wheelchair Athletic Club: http://gliwac.org
Please comment with any additional information and recommendations. If you have questions, please email me at email@example.com.