Special Education Family Resources

Beyond Access Series

The Beyond Access Series is a part of the New York City Department of Education's Division of Specialized Instruction and Student Support. The series supports families of students with disabilities by providing sessions on topics around special education.

Special Education Compensatory Services

DOE students have benefitted greatly from the return to in-person learning and academic recovery efforts (including Special Education Recovery Services) provided during the 2021-22 school year. However, some students still have gaps caused by periods of blended and remote learning. During the 2022-23 school year, IEP teams will make individualized decisions as to whether each student with an IEP requires “compensatory” specialized instruction or related services to address gaps in progress or skill regression caused by an inability to benefit from remote instruction or missed services due to the pandemic.

Your child’s IEP will include a new page that indicates whether the IEP team (of which you are a member) determined that compensatory services are required, the reason(s) for the recommendation, and a list of recommended services, if any. If your child is recommended for compensatory services, their school will work with you to ensure services are provided.

Compensatory Services Frequently Asked Questions

What are Compensatory Services?

Compensatory services are specialized instruction and related services in addition to a student’s regular IEP recommendation. As determined by the IEP team, compensatory services may be recommended to students with IEPs to help close gaps brought on by missed services and/or an inability to benefit from blended and remote learning during the pandemic. When needed, compensatory services will help ensure that any remaining gaps due to the pandemic are addressed and that students are set up for success in their current academic programs.

Is my child eligible for compensatory services?

All students with IEPs will be considered for compensatory services. Whether your child requires compensatory services is a decision that will be made at the IEP meeting and will be based on whether your child has any remaining skill regression or gaps in expected progress towards IEP goals due to the learning disruption caused by the pandemic.

Do I need to request compensatory services for my child?

Families do not need to take any action for compensatory services to be considered. All IEP meetings will include a conversation about whether compensatory services are required and, if so, how they will be provided. You may request an IEP meeting at any time if you believe that your child requires compensatory services or a change in their regular program or related service recommendations. 

What if my child’s IEP meeting is not due to be held until later in the year?

If you believe your child may require compensatory services to address gaps in progress or skill regression as a result of the pandemic and their IEP meeting is not scheduled to be held until later in the year, you can request an earlier IEP meeting. This may result in your child’s annual review being held on an earlier date than otherwise anticipated.

When will services be provided?

Whenever possible, compensatory services will be provided during the school day. In some instances (and with family agreement), services may be provided outside of the school day, including as part of the DOE’s Sensory Education, Exploration and Discovery Program (SEED), see next section on this page for more information on the SEED program. 

Who do I contact if I need support? 

Your first point of contact should always be your child’s school. If you need additional support, please email sers@schools.nyc.gov or call 311. As with other decisions made by the IEP team, you have the right to dispute compensatory services determinations. For more information, including a copy of the Procedural Safeguards Notice, visit Your Rights

This page will be updated with additional information.

Sensory Exploration, Education & Discovery (SEED)

Sensory Exploration, Education & Discovery (SEED) is a unique enrichment-based sensory movement program offered Monday through Thursday and on Saturdays to support students who display intensive sensory needs that significantly impact their school functioning and participation. Under the supervision of a licensed Occupational Therapist and/or Physical Therapist, students participating in the SEED program will have the opportunity to utilize specialized sensory equipment (e.g., swing, trampoline, therapy ball, climbing wall, scooter board, etc.) in an intentionally designed SEED space.

The goal of the SEED program is to provide children with sensory experiences that prepare the body and brain for learning through a sensory-based, social-emotional curriculum, including a variety of calming and/or alerting activities. The sensory strategies shared can be used throughout the day to improve self-regulation (the ability to control one’s thoughts, emotional responses, actions, and attention levels). Time is provided at the end of each session for family engagement to support the home-school connection and core belief of "families as partners".

SEED eligible students must be enrolled in a NYC DOE public school/preschool program (Pre-K - HS) and have a current IEP (Individualized Education Plan) recommending occupational therapy services. School community collaborates to identify students who would most benefit from SEED participation with a priority given to students exhibiting intensive sensory needs, students living in temporary housing, and students who had an extensive gap in service delivery. Students will be offered the chance to participate in SEED in one of two twelve-week cycles this school year. In situations where a student cannot participate in SEED due to limited capacity, students will be included in a SEED waiting list for participation in an upcoming cycle.

SEED Program Information 

  • SEED sessions will last approximately 45 minutes long and be conducted once a week on weekdays Monday through Thursday (scheduled between 3:00PM –5:00PM) OR Saturdays (scheduled between 8:30 am – 2:30 pm), for a total of 12 sessions.
  • SEED sessions will be conducted in small groups of no more than four children.
  • Family engagement is an integral part of the SEED program and is strongly encouraged. *Please note, school visitors must comply with the DoE (Department of Education) Vaccine Mandate policy; show proof of at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination to enter a DOE school building.
    • The adult who brings the child to the SEED session is expected to remain on-site for the session duration.
    • At the end of each session, the SEED provider will discuss the session and activities for carryover with the child's caregiver.
  • MetroCard's will be available upon request for every SEED session attended.
  • Participation in the SEED program will be in addition to a child's mandated OT/PT sessions.
  • Students may participate in both compensatory services during the week and the SEED program if appropriate.
  • The SEED site will be expanded this Fall to include 35 additional sites throughout the city.
  • If you have additional questions about the SEED program, please email SEEDPROGRAMORS@schools.nyc.gov.
  • Expanding to 8 times the capacity of SY22 (additional 70 sites) across all five boroughs​
  • First launch (beginning in November) of ~35 schools in November and second launch of ~35 schools in February

Central SEED Site Locations

Borough DBN Site Address
Bronx 10X340 2751 Jerome Avenue, Bronx, NY 10468
Bronx 12X463 1180 Tinton Avenue, Bronx, NY 10456
Brooklyn 16K026 1014 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11221
Brooklyn 75K004 76 Dinsmore Place, Brooklyn, NY 11208
Manhattan 01M134 293 East Broadway, Manhattan, NY 10002
Manhattan 04M007 160 East 120 Street, Manhattan, NY 10035
Queens 28Q040 109-20 Union Hall Street, Queens, NY 11433
Queens 30Q092 99-01 34 Avenue, Queens, NY 11368
Staten Island 31R057 140 Palma Drive, Staten Island, NY 10304
Staten Island 75R037 15 Fairfield Street, Staten Island, NY 10308

What Happens During the SEED Session? 

The occupational and/or physical therapist working with your child during SEED sessions will use structured movement and social-emotional activities to help your child develop sensory regulation, social-emotional, and gross/fine motor skills. Students will participate in ‘just right activities’ that challenge them and provide opportunities for them to feel a sense of success and accomplishment. Some of these activities may include:

  • Sensory-movement enrichment activities
    • e.g., Using sensory-based equipment such as a swing, tunnel, trampoline, etc.
  • Social-emotional and self-regulation activities
    • e.g., Exploring social interactions through structured group activities with peers; improving self-awareness and self-management of emotions
  • Movement and mindfulness activities
    • e.g., Engaging in warm-up and closing activities such as belly breathing, deep pressure, and relaxation
  • Family engagement, education, and carryover
    • e.g., Creating sensory tools such as a break box and fidgets which students can take home; modeling of sensory activities/strategies for the family at the end of the session.

Sample SEED Session

Category Session Structure Description/Activities
GroupOpening Activity & Social 
Emotional (SEL) Check-in
Mindfulness Yoga Activity and SEL Program
Obstacle course, swing, sensory pathway, rock-climbing wall, sensory exploration and creation stations Sensory-motor activities and structured sensory play
Group Closing activity & SEL Check-out Song with movement, breathing activities, SEL program
Closing Activities Family Engagement and/or student self-advocacy Wind-down, session review. Modeling of sensory based support for family. 

Supporting Students Age 21 and Older

If a student turned 21 or older during the 2020-2021 school year and has not yet completed the requirements for a diploma or exit credential, they may be eligible to return to school for the 2021-2022 school year. If you have not been contacted but think your student may be eligible to return to school, reach out to the principal at your student’s last attended school. Families of students with IEPs in charter schools and 853s should email NPSdocreview@schools.nyc.gov.

Students with IEPs who need to be connected with adult/postsecondary services or instruction but have otherwise completed school can access individualized services to meet their needs, depending on their post-school goals. This can include assistance with:

  • Intakes at adult services agencies
  • Intakes at vocational programs
  • College applications and supporting documents
  • Any other connections or referrals that need to be made in order to ensure that the student will be engaged in the appropriate adult programs and services

Most transition consultancy services can be provided through online platforms or telephone conferences. However, in-person transition support consultancy services can be provided upon request. For additional information or to request transition support consultancy services reach out to your borough Transition and College Access Center (TCAC) or the District 75 Transition Office at:

Other Resources

Family Guides and Resources