Early intervention services
Part C early intervention services may include but are not limited to specialized instruction, speech therapy, occupational therapy, or physical therapy. Early intervention services are designed to enable young children to be active and successful participants during the early childhood years and in the future in a variety of settings – in their homes, in child care, in preschool or school programs, and in their communities. The ESIT program supports parents/family members with information and skills to ensure that they are supported as the most critical influence on their child’s early learning and development.
The program’s goal is to provide services and supports that achieve the following outcomes for each child and family served in early intervention:
- Children have positive social-emotional relationships.
- Children acquire and use knowledge and skills.
- Children use appropriate behaviors to meet their needs.
The program is required to measure and report on these outcomes to the federal government to demonstrate that early intervention services have positive results for children and families served.
Parents are asked to complete a survey as part of a family’s annual Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) process, and when a child leaves the early intervention program. To give feedback about your family’s experience in early intervention, please take this brief online survey in English or Spanish.
If you have concerns about your child’s development, please call the Family Health Hotline at 1-800-322-2588 for the name of a family resources coordinator (FRC) in your area. The FRC helps you find out if your child is eligible for services. If your child is eligible, the FRC will assist you in developing a plan for services, the Individualized Family Service Plan.
Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C, early intervention services are provided to eligible children and families through an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The family will have a meeting with a family resources coordinator (FRC) and other service providers who make up the IFSP team. The family, with the team, will write a plan based on the family's concerns, priorities and resources. Services begin when the family has agreed to the IFSP that has been developed. The IFSP is an on-going process that meets the changing needs of the child and family. It is reviewed at least every six months and rewritten on a yearly basis. The family works with their FRC to assure the plan reflects the family's values.
What is a Screening?
A screening is a quick look at how a child is learning and growing. Screenings are done by people trained to determine how your child is developing. If a child's development is a concern, the family resources coordinator (FRC) can share information on how to get an evaluation for the child.
What is an Evaluation?
An evaluation will look at a child's development with parents, child and early intervention professionals involved together in the process. Evaluation looks at these areas of development:
- Cognitive - ability to learn and how a child learns
- Physical - ability to move, see and hear
- Communication - ability to understand language and express needs
- Social or emotional - ability to relate with others
- Adaptive skills - ability to dress, eat and take care of themselves
An evaluation is a way to see if a child is eligible for early intervention services. The evaluation will occur only with the family's written permission and at no cost to them.
Family Tips for Evaluation Planning:
- Ask the family resources coordinator for help;
- Bring any questions or concerns you might have about your child's development;
- Share all information with the professionals doing the evaluations that you think are important: medical records, a baby book, growth chart or other reports;
- Decide what times or locations would work for you and your family;
- Invite other family members, a friend or support person if you wish;
- Inform the family resources coordinator if you need any interpreters or other assistance.
After the evaluation you and the other members of the team will talk about what your child is doing and identify any concerns. If there are areas of delay, your child may be eligible for early intervention services. You have the choice to receive or refuse these services. You may refuse one or more of the services and still receive the other services you want.
What is an Assessment?
An assessment is an ongoing collection of information that looks at a child's strengths and needs. They are used to make sure a child is getting the kind of help needed while the child is receiving early intervention services.
Assessments look at the resources, priorities, and concerns of the family and the supports and services necessary to enhance the family's capacity to meet the developmental needs of the infant or toddler with a disability.