Special Education by Age

In New York State, services related to special education are provided on a continuum from birth through age 21.  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal law that outlines the way states deliver special education services in the United States and includes the rights parents have throughout the special education process.  In New York State, state regulations approved by the New York State Education Department and the state legislature determine how school districts deliver and are accountable for the provision of special education services and the rights of parents.  Click here to read more about parents rights in special education. The bulk of special education regulations are contained in the Part 200 regulations.  Click here for the Part 200 regulations.

Early Intervention (Birth-Age 3)

Parents of infants and toddlers with disabilities can access a variety of supports and services including assistance with diagnosis through the early intervention program administered by the New York State Department of Health.  

For more information on Early Intervention Services, click here.

Preschool Education (Age 3-Age 5)

Parents of preschoolers children with disabilities have access to a variety of programs and services for their children with physical, emotional, developmental disabilities.  


For publications on Preschool Special Education, click here.

For information on Early Childhood Direction Centers, click here.

School-Age  (Age 3-21)

Students with disabilities ages 5-21 have access to a variety of supports, services, programs and accommodations that allow them to receive an appropriate education that will prepare them for adulthood.  There are federal and state laws in place that ensure students with disabilities have access to these supports and that the rights of parents of students with disabilities to participate in the process are protected.  


For more information about Special Education in New York State visit the New York State Education Department's Office of Special Education by clicking here.

For an easy to read, downloadable Parent Guide to Special Education, click here.

New York State Special Education Regulations

Transition (Age 14-21)

The term “transition” is a required part of the special education process or secondary students with disabilities that involves students, parents, schools and community service providers working collaboratively to put in place specific activities that will prepare a student with a disability for the next phase of life, whether it be post-secondary education, employment or adult services.

For more information about Transition Planning, there are numerous publications available from the State Education Department.  To see a list of available publications, click here and scroll to the topic "Transition".

NYSED Announcements