On April 1, 2013 the NYC Department of Education will make a decision as to whether or not your children will be allowed to continue to receive their PT, OT, Speech, and Counseling services at Theraplay.
In September 2012, the Department of Education began following a process that has apparently been in effect for years. Families were contacted and told that they could only use DOE approved agencies that received contracts through a bidding process to provide their child's services. Many families were left without services and many service providers were left fighting for their jobs.
The process that the Department of Education began following this year is as follows:
"When a student requires related services, the DOE first attempts to identify a DOE employee who can provide the recommended related service; if none is available, we seek a contracted agency related service provider. It is the responsibility of the DOE, either through a Network or the CSE to coordinate with agencies. If neither the DOE nor a contracted agency is available, the DOE issues a related service authorization (RSA), enabling the parents to identify an independent provider to serve their child at DOE expense. The DOE is required to approve the provider before services may be rendered."
The DOE states that their "overall policy on the provision of related services, including the issuance of RSAs, has not changed this year", however a majority of you can attest to the fact that you were granted permission to come to Theraplay immediately after receiving your child's mandate. Those of you that waited on RSAs had your child's services delayed, with some children just recently receiving their RSAs in January!
They also state that "provider assignment is an annual process", meaning that each year your child's case will have to go through the above process, potentially having them work with a different related service provider in a different atmosphere each year. This does not offer consistency or continuity, two elements that we all know are essential for the success of your children.
Theraplay was lucky in that we were allowed to keep all of the children that we had set up schedules for in the 2012-2013 school year. Moving forward, your child's services and the success of Theraplay are in jeopardy. Our therapists work hard to ensure that your children are receiving a skilled and quality service in an environment that allows for growth and development. A sensory gym setting allows for your children to have their sensory, fine, and gross motor needs all met in one central location. All of the therapists work closely together ensuring a true team approach.
We need your help to let the Department of Education know that your children deserve to continue with therapists that have known them and developed relationships with them over the past few years.