Recently added content to the IFSP topic:
An important purpose of Part C of the IDEA is to enhance the capacity of families to meet the special needs of their infants and toddlers. Providing services in natural environments creates opportunities to support family members' helping their child learn through their typical routines and activities. The NECTAC Keys to Natural Environments and Inclusion website has examples of state policy and guidance, a searchable annotated bibliography, information for families and many other resources to promote effective services in natural environments.
Enhancing Services in Natural Environments, a web-enhanced conference call series, March - May, 2004, was sponsored by OSEP Community of Practice on Part C Settings. Nine nationally known researchers / trainers described research-based approaches to providing services in natural environments. Streaming audio, Powerpoint presentation files and links to other web-based materials on effective practice are available.
Although programs have different procedures, there are key steps in the IFSP process. The link shows a chart of a typical flow of steps and responsibilities and indicates the activities that must be completed within 45 days, from referral to the IFSP meeting. For convenience, the chart uses the term "service coordinator" as the person likely to be coordinating the process. More accurately, it should say "service coordinator or other service provider" since states and programs may have different team members assigned to such duties. Different roles may have different names as well, such as intake coordinator, family guide, primary service provider, etc. The chart can be downloaded and adapted to better fit a given state or program.
The language in Part C requiring a "family assessment" does not imply that early intervention personnel should "assess" or evaluate the family in any respect. Rather, family members are invited to share information, on a voluntary basis, to help service providers understand their concerns, priorities and resources related to supporting their child's development and learning and any other issues the family may want help to address.
Writing functional outcomes that reflect both the family's interests and priorities and professional information from assessments is an important IFSP team activity. Outcomes are identified and written before the discussion of the services, supports and strategies that will be used to achieve them. Outcomes should describe the context (family routines or activities which will provide the opportunity to work on them) and the "end point" (the measurable or observable skills and behaviors that mark successful completion.)
Many types of information about the child and his/her family are gathered during a high quality assessment. The IFSP team (including family members) uses the information as the basis for team decisions about priorities, outcomes, who will work on each outcome, and the strategies, supports and services necessary to achieve outcomes. The link provides resources for using information to develop the IFSP.
Several states have developed rating forms for evaluating the quality of IFSP's. Forms are used for accountability, monitoring and self assessment by local programs or providers.
Many states have developed an IFSP format and either require its use statewide or allow local programs and providers the option of using the state form. Help us keep the collection of forms up to date by e-mailing Joicey Hurth if your form has been revised, or if you know of an online form that could be added.
This page presents a compilation of states' on-line courses or modules that are part of a credentialing or qualification process for service coordinators and other early intervention providers. Additionally, there is a collection of on-line training materials that states are using in early intervention programs to provide inservice supports for EI providers. (page created February 1, 2010)