Most students with disabilities are best served in their zoned or district schools. There are some students, however, who need a more specialized program. There are three types of specialized programs that exist in some district schools. To determine if your child needs a specialized program you can:
- discuss specialized programs with the IEP team at your child’s IEP meeting; and/or
- contact the central team responsible for the specialized program to ask about your child’s eligibility (contact information is below).
If your child is eligible for a specialized program, he or she may be offered placement in a school that can provide the program as an alternative to the district school your child would otherwise attend.
ACES (Academics, Career, and Essential Skills) Program
ACES programs provide students with an opportunity to learn academic, work, and independent living skills in a special class in a district 1-32 school. To be eligible, students must be:
classified with an intellectual disability (ID) or multiple disabilities (MD);
participate in alternate assessment beginning in the third grade.
See the Family Guide to the ACES program, submit an application and contact SpecializedPrograms@schools.nyc.gov for questions about the program and your child’s eligibility.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Programs
ASD programs provide a reduced class size or special class that is designed to support the needs of students with Autism. There are two types of ASD programs available in district 1-32 schools.
ASD Nest Programs
The program is designed for students on the autism spectrum whose academic abilities are on grade-level and whose primary need for support is in the areas of language and social skill development.
It is a reduced-size Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) class in a district school with teachers who are trained to design instruction for students with Autism.
It is supported by the NYC DOE and NYU's ASD Nest Support Project.
ASD Horizon Programs
The program is designed for students on the autism spectrum whose academic abilities are approaching or below grade level.
It is a Special Class (SC) of 8:1+1 in a district school with instructional and interpersonal supports,
The principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) are used in everyday instructional practices.
It is developed in collaboration with the New England Center for Children.
See the Family Guide to the ASD programs, submit an application, and contact ASDprograms@schools.nyc.gov for questions about the programs and your child’s eligibility.
Bilingual Special Education (BSE)
BSE provides a specialized program for students whose IEPs recommend an Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) or Special Class (SC) with a language of instruction other than English. BSE is recommended on a case-by-case basis by the student's IEP team, which includes the family. BSE is a specialized program because it is not offered in every district 1-32 schools. Students may need to transfer schools in order to receive their IEP-recommended BSE program.
Please work with your child's IEP team to consider whether a BSE program may meet your child's needs. For more information, read the program guide or e-mail BSEprograms@schools.nyc.gov.
Dual Language (DL) and Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) are two types of BSE that may be provided.
Dual Language (DL)
English Language Learners (ELLs) and English-Proficient students are educated in the same class. The students help each other develop skills in both languages.
It is designed to continue developing students' home languages, as well as English language skills.
Students receive half of their instruction in English and half of their instruction in the target (or non-English) language.
Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE)
This program only includes English Language Learners (ELLs).
It is designed to support students in developing English language skills over time.
Students transfer skills in their home language to English by learning in their home language before slowly transitioning to English.
English as a New Language (ENL) Services
Students in BSE Programs also receive English as a New Language (ENL) services. ENL services may be provided in a stand-alone class or may be integrated throughout the day in content area classes like Math, English language Arts (ELA), Social Studies and Science. Please visit the Department of English Language Learners and Student Support (DELLSS) to learn more about ENL services. Back to top
Accessible Schools and ProgramsThese programs are located in fully accessible buildings and partially accessible buildings.
A fully accessible building:
- complies with all of the Americans with Disabilities Act's design requirements; and
- has no barriers to access for persons with mobility impairments.
A partially accessible building allows for persons with mobility impairments to:
- enter and exit the building;
- access some programs within the school; and
- have use of at least one restroom.
For a list of accessible schools and more information on accessibility please visit the Office of Space Planning