If you are concerned about your child’s development, ask your doctor to help you connect with your local early intervention program. A service coordinator will contact you and evaluate your child to determine eligibility.
Early intervention is a clinical process relying on professionals’ knowledge of the best practices and their own experiences with children and families. This information guides how goals are selected and prioritized. Contact Early Intervention Montgomery County PA for professional help.
If you think your child might have a developmental delay or disability, talk to your pediatrician. Then, if necessary, you’ll be referred to your local early intervention program or what’s known as “Children Can’t Wait.” In some cases, the early intervention provider will conduct an evaluation (with your permission) to see whether your child is eligible for services.
If your child is deemed to be eligible, an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) will be written by the early intervention team. This plan includes goals, services and support for your child. It’s important that you be part of the planning process because you are your child’s best resource.
The IFSP will include information about your child’s strengths, needs and interests. It will also identify your family’s priorities and determine how to address your child’s delays or disabilities.
Your child’s early intervention team will use a variety of approaches to help your child learn and grow. They will often work with your child through play. They may also teach your child social skills and how to interact with others. They will use their childhood development expertise to develop strategies that are designed for your child’s particular needs.
Early intervention programs must offer services to children of all ages and their families. Your child will continue to receive these services until he turns 3 or, if your child has a severe disability, longer. The team will make a transition plan with your child and family before the end of his third birthday. Then, your child will be moved to the special education system where he will receive follow-up services until he’s ready for college or career. This Practice Portal focuses on general early intervention procedures, but check with your state’s regulations for more information.
Early Intervention services are available for infants and toddlers under 3 who have a developmental delay or disability that affects one or more of the following areas: physical, cognitive, communication and social-emotional. Eligibility is determined through an evaluation and a family’s needs are prioritized and decided upon by the team.
Anyone can refer a child for an Early Intervention evaluation, including parents, health care providers and childcare providers. Children can also be referred by a school district, if they are over 3.
A team meets with you to determine your child’s eligibility and discuss your goals for your child. The team will include teachers, therapists and a service coordinator. The team will develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) for your child and identify what services are needed to meet those goals. Your IFSP will be designed to address your child’s strengths, needs and the environment. Your team may use different types of therapy, depending on your child’s needs and the types of therapies that are available in your area.
If your child is eligible for early intervention, you will attend a required meeting by the time they turn two years old to develop your child’s transition plan. This includes discussing what will happen when your child turns three and how to help your child get the follow-up special education services they will need.
Most of the time, Early Intervention services are free to families. The cost is covered by your private or public insurance, including Medicaid. Your service coordinator will be able to explain how your state’s policies work and the costs involved. Families are asked to give informed consent before any charges are made on your insurance or through the program.
The evaluation process takes a close look at your child’s development. A team of professionals will observe and play with your child, give tests, and review any information you share about your family. Then they will talk with you about the results. They will decide whether your child needs Early Intervention services and what those services should be. This decision is based on your child’s needs and the criteria under IDEA and state policy.
A service coordinator is assigned to your family. She will help explain the program and complete necessary paperwork. She will also help you select an evaluation agency and schedule the assessment. If your child is eligible, the coordinator will work with you to tailor an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
Your IFSP will include your goals for your child and how the early intervention services will support those goals. It will also contain a description of your child’s strengths and needs and how they relate to your family’s situation. Depending on your child’s needs, your IFSP may also include other services and supports that you are already receiving or have an interest in.
Getting an evaluation can take time, especially when you first get started. One way to speed up the process is to ask your child’s health care provider for a referral to an early intervention center. These are usually nurses or other health care workers who see many children. They know what is typical and will be able to tell if your child’s skills are delayed. You can also contact your state’s early intervention program directly. You can find the number for your state by visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s online list or by asking your child’s health care provider.
Once children are referred and evaluated, if they’re found eligible for Early Intervention, they’ll be assigned a team. This includes teachers, therapists and service coordinators who will work closely with families to help them address their child’s needs. This team will work together to develop an individualized plan for services, which is known as the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Each state has its own guidelines for this plan, and parents are an important part of it.
The role of the service coordinator is to act as a liaison between the early intervention program and the child’s family. This person will meet with the family, explain the process, and answer any questions they may have. They will also be responsible for helping the family find the right services and ensuring that those services are being delivered effectively.
This is a very important role, and it’s vital that Early Intervention Service Coordinators are able to deliver high-quality services to children and their families. To ensure that this is the case, it’s important that all EISCs have access to training, support and resources. One way to do this is by joining the Service Coordination Community of Practice.
This community of practice is a great place to connect with other early intervention service coordinators and share your experiences. It also offers a variety of opportunities for professional development and knowledge exchange. As a member, you can participate in webinars and other events that will provide you with the tools and resources you need to be successful in your role. To learn more about the SC CoP, click here.
Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
The IFSP documents the planning process and guides the delivery of early intervention services in accordance with Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). It includes goals that address your child’s developmental, educational, and therapeutic needs and how these will be addressed by the range of available services. In addition, it includes a statement of expected measurable outcomes and/or results, including the time frame for measuring progress toward meeting those outcomes. The IFSP also includes a list of specific, family-centered services and interventions and how they will be delivered.
The IFSP team will gather all relevant information about your child and family, including evaluations, daily routines, the challenges you face as a family, your goals for your child’s development, and what is important to you. The IFSP team will also look at the strengths your child has and the resources you have as a family to meet those goals. The IFSP team will then identify a variety of services to address your child’s needs and goals. Services can include assistive technology, audiology, family training and support, home visiting, nursing services, speech-language pathology, psychological services, and social work services.
Parents are an intricate part of the IFSP planning process, as they have the right to give their written consent for their child to receive EI services. They can revoke their consent at any time. Because of this, it is important that the IFSP team meets at times and in places that are convenient for parents.
For example, IFSP meetings are often held at your house, but they can be at other locations such as your child’s school, day care center, or other community-based programs. It is also helpful to keep detailed records and bring these with you to IFSP meetings.