Making a Referral

If you want your child to be evaluated for special education services, you must make a referral.

How to Make a Referral

The referral must be in writing and may be made by you or a DOE school official. The referral should:

  • Describe the concerns about your child’s development, learning, and/or behavior.
  • State that you are requesting a special education evaluation.
  • List any services your child has received or is currently receiving.
  • Include your child's full legal name and date of birth.
  • Include your name, address and a telephone number where you can be reached.
  • State your preferred language, if it is not English.

Where to Send the Referral

Preschool-Age Children

Children may be eligible for preschool special education services during the year in which they turn three through the end of the school year in which they turn five. Learn about Moving to Preschool.

To refer your preschool-age child, mail, fax or give the referral letter to your district Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE).

School-Age Students in Public School

Mail, fax, or give the written referral to the principal or a staff member in the school.

School-Age Students Enrolled in Private, Religious or Charter Schools, or Not Enrolled in School

Mail, fax or give the referral letter to your local District Committee on Special Education (CSE).

Schools Outside of NYC

If your child will attend a school outside of New York City, you will need to contact the school district where the school is located. This school district will work with you to develop an education program and provide any recommended services.

After The Referral Has Been Made

If your child is preschool-age, you will receive a referral packet from the CPSE, which includes

  • A notice that the referral was received;
  • A list of approved evaluation sites;
  • A "Consent for Initial Evaluation” form;
  • Information about your rights; and
  • A medical form.

If your child is school-age, you will be sent a "Notice of Referral Letter," which:

  • Explains your rights;
  • Provides the name and telephone number of a person to call if you have questions; and
  • Asks for you to meet with the school social worker for a social history interview. The interview will be held in your preferred language or mode of communication with the help of an interpreter, upon request.


If your child has never received special education services, you will be asked to sign a "Consent for Initial Evaluation" form in your preferred language. Even if you made the referral yourself, you must still give consent for the process to begin. If you choose not to give consent your child will not be evaluated.