First, the Basics...
Your Early Intervention Official (EIO)
In New York State, all counties and the City of New York are required by public health law to appoint a public official as their Early Intervention Official.
Get to know your Early Intervention Official. She or he will be an important person in your child's and family's early intervention experience!
Your Early Intervention Official is the person in your county responsible for:
- Finding eligible children.
- Making sure eligible children have a multidisciplinary evaluation.
- Appointing an initial service coordinator to help families with their child's multidisciplinary evaluation and Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
- Making sure children and families get the early intervention services in their IFSPs.
- Safeguarding child and family rights under the Early Intervention Program.
The Early Intervention Official is the "single point of entry" for children into the Early Intervention Program. This means that all children under three years of age who may need early intervention services must be referred to the Early Intervention Official. In practice, Early Intervention Officials have staff who are assigned to take child referrals.
Parents are usually the first to notice a problem. Parents can refer their own children to the Early Intervention Official (see page 9, "Step 1: Referral"). Sometimes, someone else will be the first to raise a concern about a child's development. New York State public health law requires certain professionals to refer infants and toddlers to the Early Intervention Official if a problem with development is suspected. However, no professional can refer a child to the Early Intervention Official if the child's parent says no to the referral.
Your Service Coordinator
Your service coordinator is your key to early intervention services!
There are two types of service coordinators in New York State – an initial service coordinator and an ongoing service coordinator.
Your initial service coordinator will be appointed to you by your Early Intervention Official. Your initial service coordinator will help you with all the steps necessary to get services – from your child's multidisciplinary evaluation to your first Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
You will be asked to choose your ongoing service coordinator as part of your first IFSP. The main job of your ongoing service coordinator is to make sure you and your child get the services in your IFSP. Your ongoing service coordinator will also help you change your IFSP when you need to and make sure your IFSP is reviewed on a regular basis.
You can keep your initial service coordinator – or you can choose a new person to be your ongoing service coordinator. Later in this book you'll find some tips to help you with this choice.