What Are Early Intervention Services?
Early intervention services are designed to address a concern with a delay in development as early as possible. The services are available for infants and toddlers up to age three. Early Intervention Program providers (EIPs) arrange for early intervention practitioners to work along side families and caregivers to address the needs as outlined in the Individualized Family Service Plan.
How Does It Work?
Following an evaluation and/or assessment, an eligible child and family will meet with a Service Coordinator. She/he will ask the family if they would like to participate in a Family Directed Assessment (FDA). The FDA is a tool that helps identify the family’s concerns, priorities and resources (CPRs). The information gathered will be useful in developing an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). An IFSP is developed and designed to address the family’s CPRs. Services are provided by qualified practitioners in places such as their home or through a virtual platform.
What Should You Do If You Think an Infant or Toddler Is Not Growing or Developing as He or She Should?
Seek help early. The first three years of life are important and formative years. If you suspect that an infant or toddler may be experiencing developmental delays, contact the statewide System Point of Entry toll free at 1-888-653-4463 and follow the menu. You can expect a call back within 2 business days. Here you can learn more about Early Intervention, the evaluation process, eligibility and potential services for eligible children. For more information, call our office number 856-768-6747.
Who is Eligible?
To be eligible for early intervention services through the NJEIS, a child must meet the criteria in at least one of the following two categories:
Developmental Delay: Must be measured with the NJEIS designated standard evaluation tool, appropriate diagnostic instruments and procedures, including clinical opinion in all of the following areas of development: Physical (gross motor, fine motor, vision and hearing); Cognition; Communication; Social or emotional; and Adaptive. To be eligible, a child must demonstrate measured delays in development of at least 2.0 standard deviations below the mean in one developmental area; or 1.5 standard deviations below the mean in two or more of the developmental areas.
Conditions with High Probability: This category of eligibility includes children who have identified conditions but who may not be exhibiting delays in development at the time of eligibility. Children are eligible who have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay. The high probability diagnosis must be confirmed in a signed statement or report from a physician; advanced practice nurse; or licensed clinical psychologist in the child’s record including a statement that the diagnosed condition for the child has a high probability of developmental delay.
What is an Evaluation?
An evaluation is the process of gathering information about the child to see how he or she is developing and is used to determine eligibility for early intervention services. The evaluation is conducted by qualified professionals, in conjunction with the family, and provides information in several developmental areas such as communicating, feeding, behavior, walking/movement, vision, and hearing. The evaluation also assists in defining the types and levels of services needed by the child and family. Written parent consent is needed before the evaluation can begin.
What is an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)?
The IFSP is both a plan and a process. The plan is a written document that identifies the outcomes, services and supports needed for the child and family. The process is ongoing services and assessment to gather, share, and exchange information between the family and the early intervention practitioners to help parents make informed choices about early intervention services and other needed services for the child and family.
Following the evaluation and assessment process, the IFSP is developed at a meeting with the family, the service coordinator, at least one member of the evaluation team, and anyone else the family wishes to include. In order for the child to receive services, the parent must consent to the IFSP and can withdraw their consent at any time. Parents can also say no to some services and still get the services that they agree to and feel they need the most. The plan is reviewed every six months, or more frequently as appropriate, to make sure it continues to meet the needs of the child and family. At least once a year, parents must participate in a developmental evaluation and annual IFSP meeting to review their child’s outcomes and IFSP services for any changes needed. The meeting will be held at a time and location that is convenient to the family and in the language or other mode of communication used by the parent if not proficient in English and if it is feasible to do so.
What are the Costs of Services?
Families who participate in the NJEIS may have a cost for some of the IFSP services they receive. A family’s cost participation (co-pay) is determined by household income and size and is on a sliding fee scale. There are 5 services provided at public expense:
- Evaluation and assessment
- Development and Review of an IFSP
- Service Coordination
- Procedural Safeguards
- Child Find activities
What is "Transitioning"?
NJ Early Intervention System’s program ends when a child turns three. Time and planning is needed to prepare children and families for changes in services. During this time the Early Intervention Providers will provide information and assist families in the transition process.