Children and Youth with Special Health Needs (CYSHN)
Next Steps: After Diagnosis
Hearing Level / Hearing Loss
Taking Action: Early Intervention ServicesOn this page...
Early Intervention Services
Referral and Evaluation
Early Intervention Team
Early Intervention Models
Early Intervention Plan
Frequently Asked Questions
|EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES|
Early intervention services are designed to reduce the impact of hearing loss on your child's overall development. Services involve your family and a team of professionals working together to develop and implement an individualized plan for your child. In Minnesota, the Part C early intervention program is called "Help Me Grow".
Early Intervention Law
State and federal laws provide guidelines for early intervention services. The purpose of the law is to make sure services are available for all eligible children and their families. The way the law is implemented varies from state to state, with each state responsible for developing their procedures. The following is a general description of the law to give you a clearer view of early intervention services. More information about the law can be found in the resource section.
|REFERRAL AND EVALUATION|
Professionals are required by law to promptly refer your child for early intervention services when a hearing loss has been identified. You have the right to decline these services and choose private services. Once a referral is made, an early intervention service coordinator makes contact with your family within a short period of time. The service coordinator is responsible for informing families about the services that are available. The coordinator will also help identify the needs of your family.
Early intervention services provided through the federally funded program must follow certain guidelines. The guidelines call for a multidisciplinary early intervention team evaluation to identify the needs of your child and your family within five developmental areas. The developmental areas include physical, cognitive, communication, adaptive, and social-emotional development. Hearing is covered under the area of physical development.
|EARLY INTERVENTION TEAM|
The early intervention team may consist of several members including:
- Your family
- Early intervention specialist(s)
- Service coordinator
- Pediatrician or primary care physician
The early intervention specialist may be a speech language pathologist, teacher of the deaf or an early childhood educator. Depending upon your child's needs, other team members may include your family physician, physical therapist, occupational therapist, educational consultant, and/or family advocate. Each early intervention team is required to have a service coordinator. Coordination of services may be shared by one or more people. Families sometimes serve as co-coordinators of the team.
The goal of an early intervention team is to help you find out about the options that are available to you and to help you decide which will best meet the needs of your family. You and your family are important members of this team because you are the expert on your child's unique traits including his or her needs. Each of the team members provide information and make recommendations for your child according to their area of expertise. Together, your family and the professionals who work with your family will make decisions to best meet your child needs.
Your family's culture and value system play an important role in the decision making process. Your decisions will be influenced by the services that are available in your community. Remember, the most important thing is to begin early intervention as soon as possible.
|EARLY INTERVENTION MODELS|
Some families choose early intervention services from private programs, some choose services from federally funded early intervention programs and some choose both. Other families might choose to receive services from speech language pathologists and audiologists who are not employed through a federal or state program. Your insurance company may have benefits for services such as these. There are two basic models for providing and coordinating early intervention services.
- Home-Based Models (services come to you)
- Community-Based Models (you go to the services)
It is important to learn about the options available to you in your state and community in order to make the most appropriate decision for your family based on the available resources.
Home-Based Model - In the home-based model, team members such as an early childhood teacher or speech language pathologist come to your home for therapy sessions. Sessions may include language activities like eating, dressing, brushing teeth, or taking a nap. These are known as family routines. Therapy lessons include parents, brothers and sisters so that the activities can be repeated throughout the day.
Community settings provide some of the best language opportunities for your child. Going to the park or to a pumpkin patch can excite and motivate your baby to communicate. Field trips with your team will provide new opportunities for language development.
Community-Based Model - Sometimes parents are not available to be at a home-based visit, so therapy can be provided at a childcare center. The early childhood educator or the therapist goes to the childcare center and works with the childcare provider to help ensure your child's day is full of language. Communication logs or visit notes can be left for the family to read as well as "homework" assignments for you and your child.
Center-based models provide a language rich environment for your child because they can be constructed for specific learning opportunities. Some programs that are center-based are specifically designed to meet the needs of a child with hearing loss. These centers may have rooms that are optimized for listening such as carpet on the floor or walls that are treated to reduce sound vibrations. Other centers may be visual-language rich. These center-based services may offer laygroups for families who have similar situations.
Center-based services may require that the family come once a week to a center for speech and language therapy. Families are taught to use the therapy at home. The therapists are available to help the families by answering questions and providing suggestions. Some centers may offer support groups, speech and language enrichment weekends and sign language classes. Some of the center-based services may be private services selected by the family.
|EARLY INTERVENTION PLAN|
In early intervention programs, the “EI” team will sit down together with you and your family members to come up with a plan that reflects your goals for your child, which is called the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Other agencies may also develop written plans to address the individual communication needs of your child.
Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)
The early intervention team meets with the family to develop an individualized family service plan (IFSP). An IFSP is a plan for early intervention services that reflects the ideas and goals that are important to your family. This plan includes:
- An assessment of your child's current abilities
- Family strengths and resources
- Goals to meet your family needs such as finding a support group
- A list of team members
- How often services are provided
- How long each meeting will last
- Who is responsible for payment of the services
The IFSP is approved by your family before it is implemented. It is reviewed and revised at least every six months. However, you may request a meeting at any time to review your child’s plan or discuss concerns.
Transitioning to Part B Services
As your child approaches his or her third birthday, the plan for transitioning to Part B services is initiated. Part B services of IDEA are for children from three to five years of age. The purpose of transition planning is to make sure the services that your child needs are not interrupted. Transition planning should begin at least six months prior to your child's third birthday. The service providers who will work with your child at age three may continue to use the IFSP or may write an Individual Education Plan (IEP). You can find out more information about services for your child by talking to your early intervention team members.
Individual Education Plan
The Individual Education Plan (IEP) is focused on the educational needs that your child may have and outlines how those educational needs will be met. The IEP includes measurable goals with the specific benchmarks that will be used to meet the goals. This plan is revised on an annual basis and follows your child throughout their school years. The IEP is a legal document and must be developed within the framework of a multidisciplinary team. You are a critical member of this team and must participate in the IEP process before the plan is finalized.
Early intervention services help you fully participate in making decisions about your baby's social, emotional, and educational future. Families who participate in the process become involved in the solutions. Through participation and involvement, you can become an advocate for your child's needs as they grow up and become a part of the community.
To advocate for your child is to be knowledgeable about your child and your child's needs, and to facilitate action that will result in positive steps to meet these needs. Participation in parent support groups are a great way to learn how to advocate for your child's needs. There are many local, state and national organizations that provide support with obtaining the needed services for your child and family.
|FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS|
Which program provides early intervention services for infants and toddlers?
In Minnesota this program is called Help Me Grow. This is a program for children from birth to three years of age who have a developmental delay, disability or certain diagnosed condition. It is part of the federal law called Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Who is eligible for early intervention services?
Each state has its own program qualifications. In Minnesota, many children with hearing loss are considered automatically eligible for Help Me Grow services. It will depend on the audiologist’s diagnosis as to whether or not your child qualifies for this program.
What services are provided through early intervention services?
Services include an evaluation of the family's concerns, resources and priorities. Children are evaluated by a team of different professionals. Early intervention providers develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). These services help bring together the different interventions available to families.
What is an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)?
The family, service coordinator, and professionals who were involved in the child's assessment, design a family focused plan. This plan includes the strengths and needs of the child and the concerns, resources, and priorities of the family. Because each child has his or her own plan, no two plans will be the same. It is very important that the family work closely with the service coordinator and others to learn as much about their child and the interventions available in order to get the most out of the IFSP process.
What is a service coordinator?
Every family who takes part in the early intervention program is assigned a person who works closely with the family to set up the services. Each child in the program is assessed by a team of experts who work with children. The team works with the family to determine the child's strengths and needs.
What happens after the IFSP has been written?
Once the IFSP is written and approved by the family, the services and equipment specifically written into the plan will be available. As time goes on, the family, the service coordinator, and others will look to the IFSP to be sure the child is receiving resources and services outlined in the plan. The IFSP will change as the child grows and his or her needs change. The service coordinator will meet with the family at least every 6 months to look at the IFSP and make necessary changes. In addition, a family can ask that the plan be updated any time they see the need to make changes.
What are the alternatives to federally-funded early intervention services? Private services are always an option available to families. Parents may discuss these alternatives with their child’s primary care physician or audiologist. Parents can also call the Children and Youth with Special Health Needs toll-free line at 1-800-728-5420.
Information on this web site was obtained from the Infant Hearing Guide developed in a cooperative project between the University of Arkansas for Medical Science, Arkansas Children's Hospital and the University of Arkansas RRTC and we would like to acknowledge their work.
THIS INFORMATION DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. All content, including text, graphics, images and information are for general informational purposes only. You are encouraged to talk with your doctor or other health care professional with regard to information contained on this web site. After reading this information, you are encouraged to review the information carefully with your doctor or other healthcare provider. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE, OR DELAY IN SEEKING IT, BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON THIS web site.
|Updated Wednesday, 25-Jul-2012 16:51:18 CDT|