Step 5: Putting Your IFSP Into Action
An important goal of the Early Intervention Program is to make sure infants and toddlers get early intervention services as quickly as possible. The sooner, the better!
Your family's IFSP will include the dates, as soon as possible after the IFSP meeting, when early intervention services will begin. Your ongoing service coordinator is responsible for making sure the early intervention services in your IFSP are delivered and helping out with any problems.
Putting your IFSP into action, though, is a team effort! You and your family are important members of the team. Be a part of your child's services. You can do this by:
- Being with your child when she or he is getting early intervention services. Arrange for services at times good for you, when you can pay full attention to what's happening.
- Asking the professionals working with your child to teach you the skills you need to help your child make progress.
- Keeping notes, a diary, or a journal about how well services are working and how well your child is doing. Think about what is and what isn't working. Ask for a change in services if you think a change is needed.
Reviewing, evaluating, and changing the IFSPAs your child grows and changes, so will the early intervention needs of your family. To be sure your IFSP keeps pace with your family and stays useful, the Early Intervention Program requires:
- Six-month reviews of the IFSP. The review may – or may not – include a meeting. If everyone agrees, the six-month review can be completed over the phone or by mail, or other ways that don't involve a meeting.
- Annual meetings to evaluate the IFSP.
- A process for changing the IFSP between the six-month reviews and annual meetings.
Your ongoing service coordinator is responsible for making sure the IFSP is reviewed and evaluated on time. The following persons take part in the six-month reviews and annual meetings to evaluate the IFSP:
- You and anyone you ask to participate.
- Your ongoing service coordinator.
- Your Early Intervention Official or designee.
- The professionals who are providing services to your child and family, if it makes sense to include them.
- Other persons invited by your service coordinator, with your permission.
- An advocate, if you invite one.
The six-month reviews and annual meetings to evaluate the IFSP are designed to make sure that the IFSP still makes sense for your child and family. You and the other participants will look at how well early intervention services have helped your child and family meet the outcomes in your IFSP. You will also talk about what should be changed in the IFSP. This may include:
- Adding new outcomes and dropping old ones that have been reached – or that are no longer important or useful.
- Changing strategies and activities to help meet new outcomes or outcomes that have not been reached yet.
- Changing the services needed by your child and family.
Just like your initial IFSP, you and your Early Intervention Official must agree on IFSPs that come out of six-month reviews and annual IFSP meetings. You will be asked to sign the IFSP, to show you agree and give your permission to provide services. And just like your initial IFSP, you can ask for a mediation or impartial hearing if you disagree with your Early Intervention Official about certain services – while getting the services you do agree on.
You can request a review of your IFSP at any time. Your ongoing service coordinator can set up an IFSP review whenever one is needed.