HeartShare assists individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities and provides vital services to children and families.

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OUR PROGRAMS: Early Childhood Services

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible for HeartShare's Early Childhood Services?

HeartShare's First Step Early Childhood Centers serve infant, toddlers and preschoolers with speech and language disorders, behavior disorders, mental retardation, physical handicaps, autism spectrum disorders, Down's Syndrome, and special medical conditions such as seizures, respiratory or cardiac disorders, and tracheotomies. Our Universal Pre-K program is open to all four-year old children who live in either school District 27 in Queens or District 20 in Brooklyn.

Do you offer Evaluation Services?

HeartShare's highly trained staff will provide a comprehensive evaluation of any child suspected of having developmental delays. We will help families determine the appropriate services for their child's specific needs and refer them for those services.

How can you "test" a baby or toddler?

Trained professionals at HeartShare are able to use observation, as well as standardized tests to see how a young child is functioning. Parents are encouraged to be present, and most tasks are presented through toys and games.

Do I need a doctor's referral?

No doctor's referral is needed. Any parent has the right to have his child evaluated if he is concerned about development. You do need consent from either the NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene (ages birth to 2.9) or the NYC Dept. of Education (ages 3-5).

Do you offer Preschool Programs?

HeartShare's Preschool Program offers a warm and supportive learning environment for a child aged 3 to 5 years. Our half-or full-day integrated or self-contained special education programs continue developing the child's skills through education and therapy provided by excellent staff whose goal is to help each child reach his or her fullest potential.

Do you offer Universal Pre-Kindergarten Programs?

HeartShare offers a Universal Pre-Kindergarten Program with half-day classes for a 4-year-old child. Our premier program helps prepare each child for kindergarten and future academic success. Offering a creative curriculum with math and science activities, literacy emphasis, computers, music and movement, and a breakfast andlunch program, this free program operates from September through June.

Do you have a program for school-age children with autism and other developmental disabilities?

Yes, HeartShare opened a program for children ages 5-21 with autism and other developmental disabilities in April, 2007. The program is at 1825 Bath Avenue, Brooklyn. For more information, please visit The HeartShare School or call (718) 323-2877.

What services do you offer?

At HeartShare, we offer the following services:

  • special education services in a classroom setting
  • physical and occupational therapy
  • speech and language therapy
  • music therapy
  • recreational activities
  • nurses, psychologists and social workers on staff
  • parent education and support meetings
  • assistance with obtaining community services
  • assistance in transitioning to the next education setting for each child

What does my child need to bring to your program?

At HeartShare, we recommend that children bring a change of clothes marked with their name, a composition notebook for communication with the teacher and therapists, a toothbrush and comb.

Do you serve meals at your programs?

Yes, we serve breakfast and lunch through the Child and Adult Care Food Program.

Do you have a nurse and can my child get medication in school?

HeartShare has a nurse in two of our four sites. We are able to accommodate children with medical issues at either of these programs.

When will my child be evaluated again?

A child gets annual progress updates. If at any time a parent would like to request full evaluations, they can be requested through the Committee on Preschool Special Education.

How often do I get progress reports on my child?

HeartShare gives progress reports on a regular basis through a notebook system and on a quarterly basis through your child's Individual Education Program (IEP) goals.

Does my child have to be toilet trained?

Your child does not have to be toilet trained for acceptance into HeartShare's program.

Where are your programs located?

HeartShare's Early Childhood Services are offered at the following locations:

Angels on the Bay Evaluation Center
162-30 Cross Bay Blvd.
Howard Beach, NY 11414
(718) 323-2877
Governor Mario and Matilda Raffa Cuomo First Step Early Childhood Center
115-15 101st Avenue
Richmond Hill, NY 11419
(718) 441-5333
Lefferts/Liberty Kiwanis First Step Early Childhood Center
82-12 151st Avenue
Howard Beach, NY 11414
(718) 848-0300
Dolly and Frank Russo, Sr. First Step Early Childhood Center
118-01 101st Avenue
Richmond Hill, NY 11419
(718) 805-7117
HeartShare First Step Early Childhood Center
1825 Bath Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 238-4637

What is the cost for your programs?

HeartShare's services are provided at no cost to eligible individuals.

What are the program hours?

HeartShare's First Step Early Childhood Centers operate classes from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm, Monday through Friday year round, with the exception of the last week in June and two weeks in August when the programs are closed.

Do you provide transportation?

Transportation is provided for those who need it through the NYC Dept. of Transportation.

How are your programs funded?

Preschool and UPK services are funded and regulated by both the NYS Department of Education and the NYC Department of Education. Additional support is provided by our generous donors.

How can I support HeartShare's Early Childhood Services?

To make a donation to HeartShare's Early Childhood Services, visit our Donate page.

Who do I contact for more information?

If you can benefit from our services, would like to schedule an evaluation, or have additional question, please contact HeartShare at (718) 323-2877 or email info@heartshare.org.