Frequently Asked Questions
- What is "Early Intervention?"
- Why is "Early Intervention" important?
- What are Early Intervention Services?
- Who is eligible for Early Intervention Services?
- Who provides early intervention services and where are services provided?
- How do I know if my child is eligible for Early Intervention Services?
- What if my child is eligible for Early Intervention Services?
- What is an IFSP?
- What if my child is not eligible for Early Intervention Services?
- What if my child is age 3 or older?
- What happens when my child, who is participating in Early Intervention Services, turns 3 years old?
- Is there a charge for Early Intervention Services?
- What are my rights?
- How can I be more involved?
- What is Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC)?
- Who can I contact with a question?
"Early Intervention" is an array of services designed to meet the developmental needs of an eligible infant or toddler with a disability.
- Early care and education have a definite, long-lasting impact on how children develop, learn, and regulate their emotions. It plays an important role in healthy development.
- The human brain has a remarkable ability to change, but timing is crucial. A child develops faster during the critical years from birth to 3 than at any other time. Intensive, timely intervention can improve the prospects and the quality of life for many children.
- Early intervention is cost-effective. It can reduce or eliminate future need for costly special education and social services; minimizes the likelihood of hospitalization, incarceration, or institutionalization; and can maximize the potential for independence.
After the parents have selected a program, they and a team of people who match their child's needs will develop an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). This plan will describe the child's strengths and needs as well as the families concerns and priorities for their child. It will also detail what services and supports need to be provided including their location and frequency. Federal and State laws require that certain types of early intervention services be available through the Idaho Infant Toddler Program. Services that must be provided by Baby Watch Early Intervention are listed in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ( IDEA), Part C.
Early intervention services that may be included on an IFSP are:
- Assistive technology devices
- Audiological services
- Communication services
- Family training, counseling, and home visits
- Health services necessary to benefit from other early intervention services
- Medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes
- Nutrition services
- Nursing services (for developmental purposes)
- Occupational therapy
- Physical therapy
- Psychological services
- Service coordination
- Special instruction
- Social work services
- Transportation necessary to receive early intervention services
- Vision and mobility services
- Family support groups and parent-to-parent support
In most cases, services are delivered in settings that are natural for that child, including the family home, child care settings, and other places where children usually spend time.
The law says that infants and toddlers, birth to three years of age, who are delayed in one or more of the following areas may be eligible for early intervention services.
- Physical Development including health, vision, and hearing
- Feeding & Dressing Skill
- Social & Emotional Development
- Communication and Language
- Learning, problem solving and play skills
Baby Watch is Utah's network of early intervention service providers for children birth to three with developmental delay or disabilities. Services are provided through the coordinated effort of parents, community agencies, and a variety of professionals in various geographic locations throughout the state.
Services for your child are provided in the home or wherever your child is during the day, such as a baby-sitters home or child care center. These places are referred to as natural environments.
Contact your local early intervention program. Your early intervention provider will meet with you to determine whether your child is eligible. Your child may be determined to be eligible in one of two ways:
1) An evaluation of your child's development shows that there is a significant
2) Your child has a medical diagnosis that is expected to lead to a developmental delay.
If your child is eligible, you and the other team members will develop
a plan called an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). You will
work with the team to develop outcomes for your child and family. The
IFSP you and the team develop will explain how, where and when your
family will work with the early intervention team. You will be given
more information about the IFSP process at that time.
The IFSP or Individualized Family Service Plan, is a written plan that drives individualized service delivery to each child eligible for early intervention services.
If your child is not eligible the program will offer you a way to keep track of your child's progress. Any concerns you may have in the future can then be easily addressed. Other community resources may be identified for you and your child and family.
Services are available for children and young adults with a disability, ages 3 to 21, through your local school district. The telephone number can be found in the white pages of the phone book. A referral for assessment may be made. This may lead to individualized testing for children and young adults who may require specialized assistance and/or support services. To begin this process, contact your local school district.
At least 6 months before your child turns three, your Service Coordinator will assist you in planning a move to the next service provider or agency serving your child. This can change where and how services are provided. In early intervention, this change is called transition. IDEA requires a written plan for this transition. A transition plan meeting must take place at least 90 days before your child turns three. Your transition plan will identify special education or community- based services your child may need.
Your Service Coordinator will ask you to sign a permission form so the next agency or service provider can be contacted to plan for transition. A meeting between you, your Service Coordinator, service provider(s) and the local school district will be set up.
The school district determines if your child is eligible for preschool special education services. They will discuss the results of their tests with you and give you information about your rights. If your child is eligible, their services will be provided through an Individual Education Plan (IEP).
Your Service Coordinator will assist you in planning a move to other possible services if your child is not eligible for special education preschool services.
Tips for the Transition Meeting:
- Gather as much information as possible about the proposed change
- Ask about possible program options or choices
- Ask what training and supports the new program offers families
- Visit the new program before the change
- Ask for written materials and learn the procedures for entering and participating in the new program
- Provide as much information about your child as possible to the new program
The Utah State Legislature requires that all Baby Watch Early Intervention programs charge a monthly fee, based on a sliding fee scale, for some services. If your child qualifies for services, you will not be charge for the evaluation process, on-going assessments or service coordination. You may be required to pay a fee for specialist visits provided by early intervention program staff.
The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) provides you with certain rights and protections. The early intervention program will provide you with a written explanation of your rights. If at any time you are not sure of your rights, please ask the early intervention person working with you.
You have an important role in the planning and developing of programs and services for your child. You can also take part in planning how your community provides services. Ask your Service Coordinator for further information.
The duties of the Interagency Coordinating Council (ICC) are to advise and assist the State Department of Health, Baby Watch Early Intervention Program in the performance of their duties as identified by federal regulations. The Governor appoints the members of the Interagency Coordinating Council. The composition of the Council is to be at least 20% parents of children with disabilities, aged 12 or younger, and who represent the state's diverse culture. Additionally, 20% of the Council is to be service providers. At least one member is to be from the State legislature and the remaining members represent agencies involved in early intervention services, personnel preparation, preschool services, health insurance, Head Start, child care, and others as identified by the Governor.
You can call the early intervention program in your area or the Baby Watch State Office at 1-800-961-4226.