Step 4: Making a Plan for Services - Your IFSP

I-F-S-P means...

  • Individualized...the plan will be specially designed for you, your child, and your family.
  • Family...the plan will focus on your family and the outcomes you hope to reach for your baby or toddler and your family through early intervention.
  • Service...the plan will include all the details about the early intervention services your child and family will participate in – including when, where, and how often services will be delivered. Your IFSP can also include other services that your child and family needs that will not be paid for by the Early Intervention Program.
  • Plan..the plan is a written plan for early intervention services.!

If your child is eligible for the Early Intervention Program, the next step is to develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). Your IFSP must be completed within 45 days after your child's referral to the Early Intervention Official, unless YOU "stop the clock" (for example, if your child is sick and the evaluation must be delayed). The IFSP is the written plan for the early intervention services your child and family will receive. You will work on this plan at an IFSP meeting.

Your initial service coordinator will set up the meeting to work on your IFSP. Your initial service coordinator will tell you what happens at the IFSP meeting and help you prepare. Some facts you need to know are:

  • The IFSP meeting must be held at a time and place that is good for you and your family.
  • You, your initial service coordinator, your Early Intervention Official, and evaluation team – or selected member of the team – must take part in the meeting. Your Early Intervention Official may send someone else to represent him or her (an Early Intervention Official "designee"). The Early Intervention Official may also ask your service coordinator to act as "designee."
  • You can invite others to be at the IFSP meeting – family, friends, your babysitter, or child care provider.
  • Your service coordinator can invite others to take part in the meeting, with your permission.
  • You can ask an advocate to take part in the meeting.
  • You need to give permission to use any information from your family assessment, if you had one.
  • You will be asked to select an ongoing service coordinator at the meeting.
  • The meeting will be held in the language you speak, unless it is clearly impossible to do so.

Before the meeting, your initial service coordinator will make sure you understand your child's evaluation. She or he will also talk with you about the possibilities for early intervention services.

Here are some suggestions for what to think about when planning for your IFSP meeting, and things you may want to talk about with your initial service coordinator:

  • How would you describe your child to others?
  • What is working well for you at home?
  • What do you need help with?
  • What help do you want for your child?
  • What do you need more information about?
  • What places or activities in your community could early intervention help your child take part in?

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