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Your Child's Needs

Developmental Milestones

Developmental milestones describe behaviors and activities that are normative for various age groups. They provide parents and professionals with a quick way to determine if a child’s capabilities are age-appropriate. It is important to note that if a child has not met one or more milestones, this does not mean that the child has a developmental disability or disorder. However, if the child is behind in one or areas, further investigation is warranted to determine if a problem exists.

Developmental Milestones

Developing Your Child’s Family Service Plan

Individual Family Service Plans (IFSPs) are developed for infants and toddlers from zero to three years of age(54). From three to five years of age, families can decide whether they prefer to have an IFSP or an Individualized Education Plan(54). An IFSP guides the early intervention process for children with disabilities and their families(54). An IFSP contains information regarding the services needed to facilitate child development and enhance the family's ability to facilitate this development(52). Through the IFSP process, service providers and family members work together to plan, implement, and evaluate services that are tailored to the family's unique priorities, concerns and resources(52).

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, an IFSP must include statements of the child’s present level of functioning, family resources, priorities and concerns, major outcomes to be achieved with corresponding timelines, specific services required with anticipated duration, environments services will be provided in, names of service providers and steps to provide transition services(52). Families work together with a team of individuals from health departments, social services, public schools and other agencies to develop this plan(54).

Family routines are integral in the development of your child’s Individual Family Service Plan. Before your IFSP meeting, it is helpful to jot down notes regarding typical family routines. You should include information regarding daily routines, such as meal times and morning routines as well as occasional routines, such as weekend routines, appointments and special trips(53). It is important to think about the specifics of your routines, including the involvement of each family member, how your child participates, what your child is able to do independently, how communication occurs and your level of satisfaction with these routines(53).

When communicating information about your family routines at the IFSP meeting, it is important to mention what is working and what areas of concern you would like to focus on(53). When developing outcomes, it is important to think of specific areas of the routine that you feel are important to change(53). For example, if your child protests going to the amusement park, think about what seems to be upsetting him. Is it the noise from the people and rides or the change in routine that seems to be bothering your child?

Steps that Lead to Effective IFSPs

1) Identify Family Concerns, Priorities, and Resources
The concerns, resources and priorities of the family guide the process. A partnership between the family and intervention team must exist from the start.

2) Identify the Family's Activity Settings
As childrens’ daily activities contribute to their development, it is important to document enjoyable routines to see if they result in learning opportunities. It is also important to identify the community activity settings (e.g., child care, swimming, music lessons) that provide learning opportunities for the child.

3) Conduct a Functional Assessment
An effective assessment should do the following:
Collect useful information
Address family concerns and questions
Paint an accurate picture of the child’s needs, strengths and resources
Use a familiar person(s) to conduct assessments in familiar settings

4) Collaboratively Develop Expected Outcomes
Once assessed, the team reviews concerns, priorities and resources and the information obtained from the assessment. The team can now develop goal and expected outcome statements. Goals must be collaborative and focus on family enhancement and child participation and contribution in the family.

5) Assign Intervention Responsibilities
An integrated team divides responsibilities to reach the IFSP goals. In the transdisciplinary model, all team members (family included) learn, teach and work together to accomplish goals. The situation determines the roles of each team member and one or a few people act as primary in program implementation.

6) Identify Strategies to Implement the Plan
Reinforcers can be used to support change and strategies should promote generalization of skills to many environments. Interventions should target several outcomes during one activity and activities taught should require the use of a variety of skills from several developmental areas.

Intervention strategies should encourage child independence, for example, gradually teaching the child to self-dress. Social and non-social activities should be performed and functional competencies should be emphasized.

Early Intervention Parent Reference Guide

The New York State Department of Health Early Intervention Program has prepared a Parent’s Guide for parents of children being considered for early intervention services. The guide was developed to teach parents about early intervention programming and about their rights and responsibilities as parents. The guide also explains developmental disabilities, respite services, family service plans, early intervention service steps and transition services amongst other concepts.

Reference Guide


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