Step 2: Meeting Your Initial Service Coordinator
Once your child is referred, your Early Intervention Official will assign an initial service coordinator to work with you and your family. The job of your initial service coordinator is to help you with all the steps to your first Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
Your initial service coordinator will start by setting up a time to meet with you to explain the Early Intervention Program. Your initial service coordinator will talk with you about your concerns about your child's development. She or he will:
- Make sure you have a copy of A Parent's Guide to the Early Intervention Program.
- Review your family rights and make sure you understand them.
- Talk with you about your child's evaluation for the program.
- Give you the list of evaluators in your county and help you pick one that will meet your child and family needs.
- With your permission, help arrange for your child's evaluation.
- Help you arrange for transportation to your child's evaluation, if you need it.
- Go with you to your child's evaluation if you wish.
If your child's evaluation shows that she or he is eligible for the Early Intervention Program, your initial service coordinator will:
- Set up a meeting to work on your IFSP.
- Help you understand what this meeting will be like, who else must be there, and who can be invited.
- Answer your questions about the Early Intervention Program.
- Explain how your health insurance can be used and that early intervention services will be at no cost to you.
- Help you resolve any problems that might come up – including disagreements about the services you and your child might need.
If the evaluation shows that your child is not eligible for early intervention services, your initial service coordinator will tell you about other services that can help. Or you can appeal the decision (see "Your Rights as a Parent in the Early Intervention Program," page 26, to learn more about appeals).
If you and your initial service coordinator agree that your child needs help right away – before his or her evaluation – you can get services started with an Interim Individualized Family Service Plan (interim ISFP). An interim IFSP is possible as long as you and your Early Intervention Official agree to needed services, your child's evaluation is completed, and an IFSP meeting is held within 45 days of referral.
An Interim Individualized Family Service Plan must include:
- The name of the service coordinator who will be responsible for the interim IFSP.
- A physician's or nurse practitioner's order, if needed, for early intervention services in the interim IFSP.
- The early intervention services needed immediately and the location, frequency and intensity, and providers of these services.
An interim IFSP may be needed when:
- A doctor recommends services begin right away.
- A baby or toddler has trouble feeding (such as poor or no sucking ability) and needs nutrition or therapy services to help.
- Family stress is high, and the child is at risk for out-of-home placement.