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  • Writer's pictureEbony J. Ford

From Crib To Classroom: Transitioning from IFSP to an IEP

Commonly Used Terms:

1.EI: early intervention

  • the services and supports that are available to babies and young children (birth to 3) with developmental delays and disabilities and their families.

  • May include speech therapy, physical therapy, and other types of services based on the needs of the child and family. Needs include physical (reaching, rolling, crawling, and walking);cognitive (thinking, learning, solving problems); communication (talking, listening, understanding); social/emotional (playing, feeling secure and happy); and self-help (eating, dressing).

2. CPSE: Committee on Preschool Special Education (SPECIFIC TO NEW YORK)

3. CSE: Committee on Special Education (Called something different in each state)

  • authorized to identify students in need of services by determining eligibility, developing an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), placing the student in the least restrictive environment in which they can succeed and provide appropriate services to meet the child's educational needs. The team meets at least annually to review a child's IEP and determine program from that point forward.

4. IEP: Individual Educational Plan

  • An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It mandates special education services (instruction, programs, related services like OT, counseling, PT) and accommodations for an eligible student ages 3-21. Services may be provided in any setting.

5. 504 Plan: It is a yearly, school specific accommodation plan created between a family and a school for a student with a diagnosed disability. It provides accommodations in the general education setting (authorized by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973)

6. IFSP: Individualized Family Service Plan

  • a written legal document that lays out the supports and services kids with developmental delays need to start catching up.

  • IFSPs are covered by special education law, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). They’re created for eligible kids from birth to age 3 who need extra help with physical, communication, self-help, cognitive, or social-emotional skills.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why not continue the IFSP model with early intervention if your child still qualifies?

  • It depends on what is working best for your child and the timeframe. For me personally did not discontinue my child’s IFSP plan until he aged out of Early Intervention which was August before the school year started. I did have his IEP meeting in May while still in Early Intervention so that it was already in place for the school year. I decided to stay because had I left in june he wouldn’t receive services at all that summer.

  • Early Intervention can assist you with moving into CPSE, however you must request and sign the form in NYS.

Are IEP’s permenant or can they end once the child is where they need to be?

  • The simple answer no. When the child no longer needs special education services you can remove the IEP. It can be done is only determined by a comprehensive evaluation process.

  • However, I would only remove the child IEP if the child no longer needs it, not because of the stigmatization.

Aren’t IEP’s just for kids with behavioral issues?

No. IEP are for all children who meets the criteria of the IDEA Act of 1975 and the 13 classifications are:

Autism • Deaf-blindness • Hearing impairment • Learning disability • Orthopedic impairment • Speech or language impairment • Deafness • Emotional disturbance • Intellectual disability • Multiple disabilities • Other health impairment • Traumatic brain injury • Visual impairment

How do you ensure the school follows through with services?

Staying on top of what is in your child’s IEP. Constant communication with the teacher and therapists for the different services. I personally have all their email address and email once a week or every other week to find out progress. If the school isn’t adhering to your IEP, call a meeting and if not resolved request a hearing.

My 2-year-old son has an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). We are told that when he turns 3, he will have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). What is the difference?

The major difference between an IFSP and an IEP is that an IFSP focuses on the child and family and the services that a family needs to help them enhance the development of their child. The IEP focuses on the educational needs of the child. An IEP is an education document for children ages 3 to 21. It focuses on special education and related services in schools. An IFSP is much broader. It is used for children from infancy through age 2, involves the family more, and may include professionals from several disciplines in planning for the child. An IFSP is based on an in-depth assessment of the child’s needs and the needs and concerns of the family. It contains 1) information on the child’s present level of development in all areas; 2) outcomes for the child and family; and 3) services the child and family will receive to help them achieve the outcomes. Services available through the IFSP are usually provided in the child’s home. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that services are to be provided in the child’s “natural environment.” This could include a child care setting, Early Head Start, preschool, or other community setting in which young children without disabilities would typically be found.

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