Inside: If your disabled child is in the 0-3 age range, you may have some questions about IDEA part C and Early Intervention Services. Here’s everything a parent needs to know to begin a successful journey!

Kevin is my first born. Like many new moms with internet access, I was um, shall we say ‘hypervigilant’ about his infancy and development. One of the first milestones that parents look forward to is rolling over at 3 months. And yep, you guessed it, he missed it.

I frequently voiced my concerns at his visits to the pediatrician, and she just kept saying “at 6 months, we’ll worry; at 6 months, we’ll worry.”

Six months came, and nope, no rolling over. It was then that we were referred to Early Intervention Services and told that our son would be receiving an IFSP.

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child overlooking bryce
Me & Kevin at Bryce Canyon, his first trip out there. Don’t give up vacations just for services!

First, if you are a parent to a child 0-3 and you’ve found this post, give yourself a pat on the back! I mean it! I spend a tremendous amount of time writing about IDEA part B on this blog, and very little about IDEA part C.

Early Intervention IDEA Part C

I think I speak for many parents when I say this–that time, 0-3 is just such a whirlwind, it’s hard to get your feet under you.

We were dealing with multiple specialist visits, diagnostics, and well, just being a first time parent and trying to enjoy that! It was hard.

But what I do have is the gift of hindsight, which is always 20/20 as they say. I can look back now at our IFSP Early Intervention time, and learn from it.

I cannot redo the past, but you might just be starting this journey.

A young boy sitting on steps, a parent guide to early intervention services.

Understanding IFSP

An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a document that outlines the early intervention services that a child with developmental delays or disabilities needs. It is a written plan that is developed by a team of professionals, including the child’s family, to help the child achieve their fullest potential.

IDEA part c early intervention IFSP

An IFSP is provided to children from birth to age three who are found eligible for early intervention services. The plan is designed to meet the individual needs, concerns, and priorities of the child and their family. The goal is to provide support and services that will help the child develop and learn new skills.

The IFSP outlines the specific services that the child will receive, as well as the goals that the child and their family want to achieve. It also includes information about the child’s current developmental level, strengths, and weaknesses.

The IFSP team may include professionals such as speech therapists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and social workers. The team works together to provide a coordinated approach to early intervention services.

It is important to note that the IFSP is a living document that can be updated as the child’s needs change. The team will review the plan regularly to ensure that it is still meeting the child’s needs and making progress towards their goals.

Overall, the IFSP is an essential tool for families of children with developmental delays or disabilities. It provides a roadmap for early intervention services and helps to ensure that the child receives the support they need to reach their full potential.

A toddler is engaged in early intervention services while playing with a stack of blocks.

Key Components of IFSP

An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a written document that outlines the early intervention services and supports that will be provided to infants and toddlers with disabilities or developmental delays, as well as their families.

The IFSP is a collaborative effort between the family and a team of professionals, including service providers, educators, and medical professionals. The IFSP is a critical tool in ensuring that infants and toddlers receive the support they need to reach their full potential.

Assessment

The first step in developing an IFSP is to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the child’s current abilities and needs. This assessment is typically conducted by a team of professionals, including developmental specialists, medical professionals, and educators.

The assessment should take into account the child’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as the family’s concerns and priorities. The assessment should be conducted in a family-centered manner, with the family actively involved in the process.

Goals and Objectives

Based on the assessment, the IFSP team will develop a set of goals and objectives that are specific, measurable, and achievable. These goals and objectives should be tailored to the child’s individual needs and should be designed to promote the child’s development in all areas, including cognitive, social, emotional, and physical development.

The goals and objectives should also take into account the family’s priorities and concerns.

Services and Supports

Once the goals and objectives have been established, the IFSP team will identify the early intervention services and supports that will be provided to the child and family. These services and supports may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and other specialized services.

The IFSP team will also identify the frequency and duration of the services and supports, as well as the location where they will be provided. The IFSP team will also identify the individuals who will be responsible for providing the services and supports.

In conclusion, the IFSP is a critical tool in ensuring that infants and toddlers with disabilities or developmental delays receive the support they need to reach their full potential. The key components of the IFSP include a comprehensive assessment, specific and measurable goals and objectives, and early intervention services and supports that are tailored to the child’s individual needs.

A little girl sitting in a high chair learning through early intervention services.
Most Early Intervention Services are play-based.

By working collaboratively with families and professionals, the IFSP can help ensure that infants and toddlers receive the support they need to thrive.

The IFSP Process

The IFSP process is a collaborative effort between the family and a team of professionals to develop a plan that addresses the unique needs of the child and family. The process involves several steps, including referral, evaluation, development, implementation, review, and revision.

Referral

The IFSP process begins with a referral. This can come from a variety of sources, including parents, doctors, childcare providers, or other professionals. Once a referral is made, the family is contacted to discuss the process and obtain consent for an evaluation.

Evaluation

The evaluation is conducted by a team of professionals who assess the child’s developmental needs and determine if the child is eligible for early intervention services. This evaluation includes a review of the child’s medical history, developmental history, and current functioning.

The evaluation team may include professionals such as a speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, or developmental specialist.

Development

Once the child is found eligible for early intervention services, the IFSP team works with the family to develop a plan that addresses the child’s unique needs. The plan includes goals for the child’s development and services that will be provided to achieve those goals.

The IFSP team considers the family’s priorities and concerns when developing the plan.

Implementation

After the IFSP is developed, services are put into place. The family and professionals work together to provide the services outlined in the plan. The IFSP team monitors progress towards the child’s goals and makes adjustments to the plan as needed.

Review

The IFSP is reviewed every six months to assess progress towards goals and determine if any changes need to be made to the plan. The review includes input from the family and professionals involved in the child’s care.

Revision

If changes need to be made to the plan, the IFSP team revises the plan and puts the new plan into action. The revised plan includes updated goals and services to meet the child’s needs.

Overall, the IFSP process is designed to be a collaborative effort between the family and professionals to ensure that the child receives the services needed to reach their full potential.

Roles and Responsibilities in IFSP

Parents

Parents play a critical role in the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) process. They are an essential part of the IFSP team and have the right to be involved in all decisions related to their child’s early intervention services.

Parents are responsible for providing information about their child’s strengths, needs, and family situation. They are also responsible for setting goals and objectives for their child’s development and participating in the development of the IFSP.

Service Providers

Service providers are responsible for providing early intervention services to infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. They work with parents to develop and implement the IFSP, providing services in the child’s natural environment.

Service providers are responsible for monitoring the child’s progress and adjusting the IFSP as needed. They must also communicate with parents regularly to ensure that they are informed and involved in the process.

Service providers may include a variety of professionals, such as speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and early childhood educators.

They must have the appropriate education, training, and experience to provide high-quality early intervention services.

In summary, parents and service providers are both critical members of the IFSP team. They must work together to develop and implement the IFSP, ensuring that the child receives high-quality early intervention services that are tailored to their unique needs and strengths.

Benefits of IFSP

An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is an essential document that provides a roadmap for early intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities.

Here are some of the benefits of IFSP:

1. Early Identification and Intervention

IFSPs are designed to identify developmental delays or disabilities early on and provide appropriate interventions. Early identification and intervention can improve outcomes for children and help them reach their full potential.

2. Family-Centered Approach

IFSPs are developed with a family-centered approach, which means that families are actively involved in the planning process. This approach recognizes that families are the experts on their child and helps them to feel empowered and supported.

3. Customized Services

IFSPs are individualized and tailored to meet the unique needs of each child and family. The plan outlines specific goals and objectives for the child and identifies the services and supports needed to achieve those goals.

4. Collaboration and Coordination

IFSPs involve collaboration and coordination between families, service providers, and other professionals involved in the child’s care. This collaboration helps to ensure that everyone is working together towards the same goals and that services are delivered in a coordinated and efficient manner.

5. Smooth Transition to School

IFSPs can help to ensure a smooth transition from early intervention services to school-based services. The plan outlines the child’s progress and goals, which can be used to inform the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) when the child transitions to school.

Overall, an IFSP can provide a clear and comprehensive plan for early intervention services that can help children with developmental delays or disabilities reach their full potential.

Challenges in IFSP Implementation

Implementing an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) can be a challenging task for educators and families alike. Here are some of the common challenges that can arise during the implementation of an IFSP:

Communication

Communication can be a significant challenge during the implementation of an IFSP. Parents may find it difficult to communicate their concerns, priorities, and resources effectively. On the other hand, early intervention providers may struggle to communicate their recommendations and strategies to the parents.

It is essential to establish clear communication channels and ensure that everyone involved in the IFSP process is on the same page.

A woman with two small children sitting on a couch using a tablet while exploring the benefits of IDEA Part C.

Confidentiality

Confidentiality is another significant concern that can arise during the implementation of an IFSP. Parents may worry about who will see the information about their child and whether it will be included in their child’s school records.

It is crucial to establish clear guidelines on confidentiality and ensure that all parties involved in the IFSP process understand and follow them.

Limited Resources

Limited resources can also pose a challenge during the implementation of an IFSP. Early intervention providers may face challenges in providing the necessary services and supports due to limited resources such as time, funding, and staff.

It is essential to prioritize the most critical services and supports and use available resources effectively.

Cultural and Linguistic Diversity

Cultural and linguistic diversity can also pose a challenge during the implementation of an IFSP. Early intervention providers may struggle to communicate effectively with families from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.

It is essential to be culturally sensitive and aware and ensure that all families receive the necessary information and support in a language and format that they can understand.

A baby is being fed with a spoon in an early intervention setting.

Lack of Parent Involvement

Lack of parent involvement can also be a significant challenge during the implementation of an IFSP. Early intervention providers may struggle to engage parents and ensure that they are actively involved in the IFSP process.

It is crucial to establish a collaborative relationship with parents and involve them in all aspects of the IFSP process.

Frequently Asked Questions about IFSPs and 0-3 Services

What is the IFSP process?

The IFSP process is a collaborative effort between the family and a team of professionals to identify a child’s strengths and needs and develop a plan to address them.

The process includes evaluations and assessments, goal-setting, and the identification of services and supports that will help the child and family achieve their desired outcomes.

Who are the team members involved in creating an IFSP?

The team members involved in creating an IFSP may vary depending on the child’s needs and the state’s regulations.

However, typically, the team includes the child’s parents or caregivers, a service coordinator, and professionals from different disciplines, such as a speech therapist, occupational therapist, and developmental specialist.

How are assessments used in developing an IFSP?

Assessments are used in developing an IFSP to identify a child’s strengths and needs and to determine the appropriate services and supports to address them.

The assessments may include medical evaluations, developmental assessments, and functional assessments, among others.

What are the components of an IFSP?

An IFSP includes several components, such as the child’s current developmental levels, the family’s priorities and concerns, the outcomes the family wants to achieve, the services and supports needed to achieve those outcomes, and the timelines for providing those services and supports.

What is the history of the IFSP?

The IFSP was established as part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to ensure that infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families receive the necessary services and supports to promote their development and well-being.

What are the key differences between an IFSP and an IEP?

The key difference between an IFSP and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is that an IFSP is designed for children from birth to three years old, while an IEP is for children from three to 21 years old.

Additionally, an IFSP focuses on the child’s and family’s needs and priorities, while an IEP emphasizes the child’s academic and functional goals.

IDEA Part C Procedural Safeguards

Yes, just as with IDEA part B, Part C gives parent protections.

What is an IFSP?

An IFSP is yes, like an IEP for babies. IFSP stands for Individualized Family Service Plan. And, per IDEA part c, most agencies follow a model of engaging the entire family in the process. If you read Part C, you will see that it calls for services to be provided in the ‘natural environment.’ My son’s providers always came here or to his daycare.

My son’s services included OT, PT, SLP and an early childhood special education teacher to come to the home. When he was around 2, we added vision and orientation and mobility.

The IFSP is a document that outlines the EI 0-3 services that your child and family will receive. Note, it says family! Parents tend to receive more training during 0-3 services than any other time. Even though IEPs can and do include Parent Training.

Another main tenet of IDEA Part C is that the family is a child’s greatest resource. The best way to support children and meet their needs is to support and build upon the individual strengths of their family. So, the IFSP is a whole family plan with the parents as major contributors in its development. Much like an IEP, adding other supports and services depends on what the child needs. A list of possible service providers is above in the segment of IDEA part C that I posted..

And, much like an IEP, IFSPs can vary by state.

Eligibility for an IFSP

Hey, let’s be honest. Babies don’t do much! So eligibility is one area where an IFSP is a little different from an IEP. An IFSP can be diagnosis-driven.

If your baby is born with a known health issue, such as low birth weight, prematurity, down syndrome or any other genetic condition, you may be referred to Early Intervention Services.

A developmental delay isn’t going to appear until a baby “should” have some skills, so talk to your pediatrician if you have concerns. This is one area where Kevin didn’t have a ton of red flags. He was born a normal weight, he had great eye contact. He lacked core strength, but that was all we had to go on for a few months.

Side note: Genetic Screenings are a part of ACA. This is why, 14 years ago, Kevin did not receive them. There was no ACA then. Again, hindsight is always 20/20, but had he been genetic screened, we would have found his genetic condition and started services right away.

And not at 6 months. Now that he’s 14, do those 6 months really matter? We’ll never know. We know that Early Intervention works, which is why I will continue to support ACA.

What is an IFSP plan?

This is all clearly defined in IDEA Part C. You will see many similarities between an IEP vs an IFSP. An IFSP must include the following:

  • A present levels of functioning section; a listing of all strengths and areas of need in all areas of development (cognitive, speech, social, etc)
  • Family information including the resources, priorities, and parent concerns
  • The Results or Goals expected to be achieved for your child and family
  • The specific EI services your child will be receiving; frequency, duration, location, etc.
  • LRE Component-if the services will not be provided in the natural environment, the IFSP must include a statement justifying why not
  • Who will pay for the services
  • The name of the service coordinator overseeing the implementation of the IFSP (I fired my first one, lol, I was in a bad place! ‘nother story for ‘nother day!)
  • IFSP to IEP transition details, when the time comes.

The IFSP must be fully explained to the parents, and their suggestions must be considered. Parental written consent is required before services can start. If you do not give your consent in writing, your child will not receive services.

IFSP Development

The process is very similar. Either you (as a parent) or another professional (pediatrician, day care teacher) will refer your child to EI services in your state or county. Again, this can vary a little bit by state. But generally the next step is that a Service Coordinator will come out to your home. He/she will interview the parents and gather your concerns.

From there she will develop a plan for evaluations by professionals, and those folks will come out and evaluate your child. They will compile evaluation reports with their findings.

Yes, along the way, talk with your service coordinator if you disagree with their evaluations or have any questions.

IFSP Service Delivery

Most IFSP teams follow the same service delivery model. Remember, we are talking about babies, so a parent or trusted adult (grandparent, day care provider) must be present.

But the service delivery model is that yes, they provide direct services to your child. However, they also teach and train the adults in that baby’s life so that you can practice.

IFSP Team

Yes, much like an IEP, you will have a team. Your service providers may or may not be the same people who did your evaluations.

  • the parent or parents of the child
  • other family members, if requested by the parent (my mother-in-law was present for lots of ours)
  • an advocate or person outside of the family, if requested by parent (our day care provider often attended)
  • the service coordinator designated by the system to be responsible for implementing the IFSP (you can switch if it’s not a good fit)
  • professionals who conducted the evaluations and assessments of the child and family
  • persons who will be providing early intervention services under this part to the child or family (may or may not be same people who did evaluations)

Parent Tips for IFSP Development

Just going to throw out some random stuff I’ve learned from my own experience and from friends.

  • Don’t beat yourself up over what you didn’t know. When we know better, we do better. Just focus on doing better as you gain more knowledge.
  • It’s ok to be overwhelmed and confused. Ask questions. Seek out support.
  • Enjoy this time! Having a child from ages 0-3 is still a phenomenally fun and exciting time. Make sure you enjoy your baby. I’d hate for anyone to look back on the 0-3 time and all you remember is doctor appointments and therapies.
  • You do you. Learn all you can about your baby’s prognosis and expectations, but go with your gut. Don’t let anyone else tell you how to feel.
  • Find your people. If your child does have a disability that is going to affect them long term, find your people. This may or may not be people who have babies with the same diagnosis as yours. It may not be the first similarly-situated parents you find. It may be online and not in real life. But they’re out there, your people, find them.

IDEA Part C

In a nutshell, IDEA part C is the Federal Regs for Early Intervention or 0-3 Services. Here is some of IDEA part C, at least some of the more important parts in my professional opinion.

Statute/Regs Main Â» Regulations Â» Part C Â» Subpart A Â» Section 303.13

303.13 Early intervention services.

(a) General. Early intervention services means developmental services that—(1) Are provided under public supervision;

(2) Are selected in collaboration with the parents.

3) Are provided at no cost, except, subject to §§303.520 and 303.521, where Federal or State law provides for a system of payments by families, including a schedule of sliding fees;

(4) Are designed to meet the developmental needs of an infant or toddler with a disability and the needs of the family to assist appropriately in the infant’s or toddler’s development, as identified by the IFSP Team, in any one or more of the following areas, including—

(i) Physical development;(ii) Cognitive development;(iii) Communication development;(iv) Social or emotional development; or(v) Adaptive development;

(5) Meet the standards of the State in which the early intervention services are provided, including the requirements of part C of the Act;

(6) Include services identified under paragraph (b) of this section;

(7) Are provided by qualified personnel (as that term is defined in §303.31), including the types of personnel listed in paragraph (c) of this section;

(8) To the maximum extent appropriate, are provided in natural environments, as defined in §303.26 and consistent with §§303.126 and 303.344(d); and

(9) Are provided in conformity with an IFSP adopted in accordance with section 636 of the Act and §303.20.(b) Types of early intervention services. Subject to paragraph (d) of this section, early intervention services include the following services defined in this paragraph:(1) Assistive technology device and service are defined as follows:(i) Assistive technology device means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of an infant or toddler with a disability. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, including a cochlear implant, or the optimization (e.g., mapping), maintenance, or replacement of that device.(ii) Assistive technology service means any service that directly assists an infant or toddler with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

The term includes—(A) The evaluation of the needs of an infant or toddler with a disability, including a functional evaluation of the infant or toddler with a disability in the child’s customary environment;

(B) Purchasing, leasing, or otherwise providing for the acquisition of assistive technology devices by infants or toddlers with disabilities;(C) Selecting, designing, fitting, customizing, adapting, applying, maintaining, repairing, or replacing assistive technology devices;(D) Coordinating and using other therapies, interventions, or services with assistive technology devices, such as those associated with existing education and rehabilitation plans and programs;

(E) Training or technical assistance for an infant or toddler with a disability or, if appropriate, that child’s family; and

(F) Training or technical assistance for professionals (including individuals providing education or rehabilitation services) or other individuals who provide services to, or are otherwise substantially involved in the major life functions of, infants and toddlers with disabilities.(2) Audiology services include—(i) Identification of children with auditory impairments, using at-risk criteria and appropriate audiologic screening techniques;(ii) Determination of the range, nature, and degree of hearing loss and communication functions, by use of audiological evaluation procedures;(iii) Referral for medical and other services necessary for the habilitation or rehabilitation of an infant or toddler with a disability who has an auditory impairment;(iv) Provision of auditory training, aural rehabilitation, speech reading and listening devices, orientation and training, and other services;(v) Provision of services for prevention of hearing loss; and(vi) Determination of the child’s individual amplification, including selecting, fitting, and dispensing appropriate listening and vibrotactile devices, and evaluating the effectiveness of those devices.(

3) Family training, counseling, and home visits means services provided, as appropriate, by social workers, psychologists, and other qualified personnel to assist the family of an infant or toddler with a disability in understanding the special needs of the child and enhancing the child’s development.(4) Health services has the meaning given the term in §303.16.

(5) Medical services means services provided by a licensed physician for diagnostic or evaluation purposes to determine a child’s developmental status and need for early intervention services.(6) Nursing services include—(i) The assessment of health status for the purpose of providing nursing care, including the identification of patterns of human response to actual or potential health problems;(ii) The provision of nursing care to prevent health problems, restore or improve functioning, and promote optimal health and development; and(iii) The administration of medications, treatments, and regimens prescribed by a licensed physician.

(7) Nutrition services include—(i) Conducting individual assessments in—(A) Nutritional history and dietary intake;(B) Anthropometric, biochemical, and clinical variables;(C) Feeding skills and feeding problems; and(D) Food habits and food preferences;(ii) Developing and monitoring appropriate plans to address the nutritional needs of children eligible under this part, based on the findings in paragraph (b)(7)(i) of this section; and(iii) Making referrals to appropriate community resources to carry out nutrition goals.(8) Occupational therapy includes services to address the functional needs of an infant or toddler with a disability related to adaptive development, adaptive behavior, and play, and sensory, motor, and postural development. These services are designed to improve the child’s functional ability to perform tasks in home, school, and community settings, and include—(i) Identification, assessment, and intervention;(ii) Adaptation of the environment, and selection, design, and fabrication of assistive and orthotic devices to facilitate development and promote the acquisition of functional skills; and(iii) Prevention or minimization of the impact of initial or future impairment, delay in development, or loss of functional ability.

(9) Physical therapy includes services to address the promotion of sensorimotor function through enhancement of musculoskeletal status, neurobehavioral organization, perceptual and motor development, cardiopulmonary status, and effective environmental adaptation. These services include—(i) Screening, evaluation, and assessment of children to identify movement dysfunction;(ii) Obtaining, interpreting, and integrating information appropriate to program planning to prevent, alleviate, or compensate for movement dysfunction and related functional problems; and(iii) Providing individual and group services or treatment to prevent, alleviate, or compensate for, movement dysfunction and related functional problems.(10) Psychological services include—(i) Administering psychological and developmental tests and other assessment procedures;(ii) Interpreting assessment results;(iii) Obtaining, integrating, and interpreting information about child behavior and child and family conditions related to learning, mental health, and development; and(iv) Planning and managing a program of psychological services, including psychological counseling for children and parents, family counseling, consultation on child development, parent training, and education programs.

(11) Service coordination services has the meaning given the term in §303.34.

(12) Sign language and cued language services include teaching sign language, cued language, and auditory/oral language, providing oral transliteration services (such as amplification), and providing sign and cued language interpretation.

(13) Social work services include—(i) Making home visits to evaluate a child’s living conditions and patterns of parent-child interaction;(ii) Preparing a social or emotional developmental assessment of the infant or toddler within the family context;(iii) Providing individual and family-group counseling with parents and other family members, and appropriate social skill-building activities with the infant or toddler and parents;(iv) Working with those problems in the living situation (home, community, and any center where early intervention services are provided) of an infant or toddler with a disability and the family of that child that affect the child’s maximum utilization of early intervention services; and(v) Identifying, mobilizing, and coordinating community resources and services to enable the infant or toddler with a disability and the family to receive maximum benefit from early intervention services.

(14) Special instruction includes—(i) The design of learning environments and activities that promote the infant’s or toddler’s acquisition of skills in a variety of developmental areas, including cognitive processes and social interaction;(ii) Curriculum planning, including the planned interaction of personnel, materials, and time and space, that leads to achieving the outcomes in the IFSP for the infant or toddler with a disability;(iii) Providing families with information, skills, and support related to enhancing the skill development of the child; and(iv) Working with the infant or toddler with a disability to enhance the child’s development.(15) Speech-language pathology services include—(i) Identification of children with communication or language disorders and delays in development of communication skills, including the diagnosis and appraisal of specific disorders and delays in those skills;(ii) Referral for medical or other professional services necessary for the habilitation or rehabilitation of children with communication or language disorders and delays in development of communication skills; and(iii) Provision of services for the habilitation, rehabilitation, or prevention of communication or language disorders and delays in development of communication skills.(16) Transportation and related costs include the cost of travel and other costs that are necessary to enable an infant or toddler with a disability and the child’s family to receive early intervention services.

(17) Vision services mean—(i) Evaluation and assessment of visual functioning, including the diagnosis and appraisal of specific visual disorders, delays, and abilities that affect early childhood development;(ii) Referral for medical or other professional services necessary for the habilitation or rehabilitation of visual functioning disorders, or both; and(iii) Communication skills training, orientation and mobility training for all environments, visual training, and additional training necessary to activate visual motor abilities.

(c) Qualified personnel. The following are the types of qualified personnel who provide early intervention services under this part:(1) Audiologists.(2) Family therapists.(3) Nurses.(4) Occupational therapists.(5) Orientation and mobility specialists.(6) Pediatricians and other physicians for diagnostic and evaluation purposes.(7) Physical therapists.(8) Psychologists.(9) Registered dieticians.(10) Social workers.(11) Special educators, including teachers of children with hearing impairments (including deafness) and teachers of children with visual impairments (including blindness).(12) Speech and language pathologists.(13) Vision specialists, including ophthalmologists and optometrists.(d) Other services. The services and personnel identified and defined in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section do not comprise exhaustive lists of the types of services that may constitute early intervention services or the types of qualified personnel that may provide early intervention services. Nothing in this section prohibits the identification in the IFSP of another type of service as an early intervention service provided that the service meets the criteria identified in paragraph (a) of this section or of another type of personnel that may provide early intervention services in accordance with this part, provided such personnel meet the requirements in §303.31.

early intervention infographic
Important to Note: EI Services are NOT just for autism! They are for anything.

Transition from IFSP to IEP

It’s a little confusing, but it has to do with funding. But in most states, once your child turns 3, he/she becomes the responsibility of your local school district (LEA) and gets an IEP instead of an IFSP. That being said, they usually have specific people who handle the preschool services.

IDEA Part B covers 3-21, which is why this happens.

Your IFSP team will likely begin preparing you for this when your child is only 2. The best tip I can give: When your child begins the 3-21 services, now is really the time to buckle down, learn the system and be your child’s best advocate you can be.

You really need a strong, solid preschool IEP and have demonstrated meaningful progress. This makes it more difficult to reduce services when the child enters kindergarten.

Free IEP Binder
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