VI. Monitoring Progress
For all children in the EIP, it is important to ensure that parents, providers, service coordinators, and Early Intervention Officials work together to evaluate the effectiveness of interventions and children's progress. All interventions should be tied to ongoing assessment and modification of intervention strategies as needed.
EIP regulations66 require that the IFSP include the criteria and procedures that will be used to determine whether progress toward achieving the outcomes included in the IFSP is being made, and whether modifications or revisions of the outcomes or services are necessary. EIP service providers are required to maintain session notes and progress notes, documenting the services being delivered and progress achieved by the child through provision of these services. Session notes and progress notes are a valuable source of information regarding the effectiveness of early intervention services and whether there is a need to modify the outcomes or services being provided to the child and family.
The IFSP must be reviewed at six month intervals and evaluated annually to determine the degree to which progress is being made toward achieving outcomes in the IFSP and whether there is need to modify the IFSP to revise the services being provided or anticipated outcomes, and to review whether a child's eligibility status may have changed. Upon the request of the parent, or if conditions warrant, the IFSP may be reviewed at more frequent intervals.
The six-month review can be conducted by a meeting or other means amenable to the parent (for example, a telephone conference call or a "paper" review). However, a meeting must be conducted for the annual evaluation of the IFSP, and must include the EIO, service coordinator, and parent(s), and may include other participants as appropriate (such as the child's service providers, and any other participants invited by the parent or service coordinator).67 The annual evaluation of the IFSP must use the results of any current child evaluations and any other information from the ongoing assessment of the child and family, including session and progress notes, to determine the services that are needed and will be provided.
Evaluations may also be performed, with parental consent and if deemed necessary and appropriate by the EIO, when there is an observable change in the child's developmental status which indicates the need for modification of the IFSP or a change in eligibility status; or, the parent, early intervention official or service coordinator, or service provider(s) request a reassessment at the six-month review of the IFSP.68
Modifications to interventions, including the frequency, intensity, duration, and types of services provided, should be considered as part of the IFSP review and annual evaluation process when:
- the child has progressed and the target objectives have been achieved;
- progress is not observed after an appropriate trial period;
- the child has shown some progress but target objectives have not been achieved after an appropriate trial period;
- there is an unexpected change in the child's behavior or health status;
- there is a change in the intervention setting; or,
- there is a change in family circumstances and/or priorities for the child and family.
It is important to note that the EIO is responsible for providing written notice to parents ten working days before the EIO proposes or refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation, service setting, or the provision of appropriate early intervention services to the child and the child's family. This requirement applies to a potential change in a child's eligibility status. The notice must be written in language understandable to the general public; and, provided in the dominant language of the parents, unless it is clearly not feasible to do so. In addition, the EIO must make reasonable efforts to ensure the parent receives written notification about the right to due process and the method by which mediation and an impartial hearing can be requested at the following times: upon denial of eligibility; upon disagreement between the EIO and the parent on an initial or subsequent IFSP or proposed amendment to an existing IFSP; and, upon request from the parent for such information.69
Most children with a diagnosed condition with a high probability of resulting in developmental delay, such as Down syndrome or autism, will continue to be eligible for the EIP based on the existence of the condition. It is unlikely that there will be a question about their ongoing eligibility for the EIP, or that additional multidisciplinary evaluations will be needed once an initial IFSP is developed. The results of ongoing assessments conducted by service providers in the course of delivering services, progress notes, and other documentation available regarding the child's progress should be sufficient for six month reviews and annual evaluations of the IFSP for these children. Supplemental evaluations may be agreed upon and conducted when there is a change in the child's development that indicates the need for a change in the services included in the IFSP.
66 10 NYCRR §69-4.11(a)(10)(iv)
67 10 NYCRR §69-4.11(a)(2) and (3)
68 10 NYCRR §69-4.8(a)(12)
69 10 NYCRR §69-4.17(b)