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
- 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/she may be offered placement in a school that can provide that program as an alternative to the district school your child would otherwise attend. Specialized programs include:
ACES (Academics, Career, and Essential Skills) Program
ACES programs provide a special class within a community school that focuses on tailored academic instruction and helps students learn skills needed for daily living. Students must meet the following criteria to be eligible:
classified as having an intellectual disability (ID) or multiple disabilities (MD)
starting in third grade, participate in alternate assessment.
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.
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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 community schools.
ASD Nest Programs:
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.
provide a reduced-size Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) class within a community school with teachers who are trained in designing instruction for students with Autism
are supported by the NYCDOE and NYU's ASD Nest Support Project
ASD Horizon Programs:
designed for students on the autism spectrum whose academic abilities are approaching or below grade level
provide a Special Class (SC) of 8:1+1 within a community school that provides instructional and interpersonal supports that integrate the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) into everyday instructional practices and customize lessons for each student
are 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. Back to top
Bilingual Special Education (BSE)
Bilingual special education 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 community school. 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, e-mail BSEprograms@schools.nyc.gov.
Dual Language (DL) and Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE) are two types of bilingual education. Students can receive instruction in a SC or ICT bilingual program that is either DL or TBE.
Dual Language (DL)
serve both English Language Learners (ELLs) and English-proficient students, who serve as role models for each other and whose interactions support skill development in both languages
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):
serve only English Language Learners (ELLs)
designed to support students in developing English language skills over time
students begin to transfer skills in their home language to English by spending instructional time primarily in their home language before steadily 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
- 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
- have use of at least one restroom
For a list of functionally accessible schools and more information on accessibility please visit the Office of Space Planning
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