Early intervention is the process of anticipating, identifying and responding to concerns about a child’s development to minimize potential adverse effects and maximize healthy development. While all infants and toddlers learn at their own pace, some may need extra help to develop certain skills.
Early intervention services may begin at anytime between birth and age three; however, when early intervention is needed, the earlier it is provided, the better outcome for the child and family. Early intervention services for children ages 0-3 in Utah are provided by Baby Watch Early Intervention Program, under the Utah Department of Health. Baby Watch provides services in compliance with Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) through a network of local provider organizations. Baby Watch provides early identification and developmental services for families of infants and toddlers. Some of the services they offer include:
- A full assessment of a child’s current health and developmental status.
- Service coordination among providers, programs and agencies.
- Strategies to build on family concerns, priorities and resources.
- Developmental services including occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech language therapy.
These services are provided through the coordinated effort of parents, community agencies and a variety of professionals. Places where services are provided include Baby Watch centers (located across Utah), home and community settings such as child care.
Baby Watch Early Intervention
Baby Watch is Utah’s network of services for children ages birth to three with developmental delays or disabilities. Visit their website www.utahbabywatch.org to find out if your baby needs help and for a list of early intervention providers across the state.
Individualized Family Service Plans (IFSPs)
An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is the plan that Early Intervention providers develop with families to guide the delivery of services. IFSPs are based on an in-depth assessment of the child’s needs and the needs and concerns of the family. It contains 1) goals for the child, 2) services the child will receive to help him or her achieve the goals and 3) how the family, with support from professionals, can hep the child reach the goals. Services available through the IFSP are usually provided in the child’s home. Changes in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), however, state that services are to be provided in the child’s “natural environment”. This could include a child care setting, preschool or other community setting in which young children without disabilities would typically be found.
An IFSP is a document or written plan. The term “IFSP” also refers to the process of determining what services a young child with disabilities needs. It uses an “interagency” approach by involving representatives of several agencies (usually education, health and human services) and other resources that can help the child and family. A “service coordinator” is assigned to assist the child’s family through the IFSP process.
Transitioning from Early Intervention to Special Education Preschool
Many children served in Special Education Preschool programs were previously served in Early Intervention (EI) programs. In Utah, Special Education Preschool for eligible children ages 3-5 is provided by each local school district in compliance with Part B of IDEA.The following training videos about the transition from Early Intervention to Special Education Preschool are now available in both English and Spanish.
The Utah Parent Center has also published the a parent handbook that can be read alone or in-conjunction with the online training videos.
The following handouts and information sheets will also provide you with additional information about this exciting transition.
- Special Education – Basic Information for Parents
- Overview of the Special Education Process
- IEP Team Building
- IEP Tips for Parents
- “Child Profile” Worksheet
- “Student Profile” Worksheet
- A Sample Profile
- A Worksheet for Organizing Your Concerns about School-Related Problems
- An IEP Meeting Planner
The website for the Utah State Office of Education (USOE), Special Education Services – Preschool includes several documents that will be helpful to parents.