- What should I do when I have concerns or questions about my child who is under the age of 3?
If you are concerned about your child’s development, talk to your child’s doctor and ask for a developmental screening. If you or the doctor is still concerned, ask the doctor for a referral to your local Children’s Integrated Services team. Contact your local Children’s Integrated Services team coordinator or dial 2-1-1 toll free from anywhere in Vermont for helpful resources.
2. What is Children’s Integrated Services – Early Intervention (CIS-EI)?
CIS-EI provides family-centered early intervention for children from birth to age 3 who have, or may be at risk for, a delay in their development. Early Intervention is required by the federal law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C.
3. What types of developmental delays do children have who may qualify for Early Intervention services?
Your child and family may receive Early Intervention services if your child has an observable or measurable delay in one or more areas of development:
- Thinking and learning skills
- Moving, seeing and hearing
- Understanding and using sounds, gestures, and words
- Responding to and developing relationships with other people
- Taking care of themselves when they are doing things like feeding or dressing
4. How can Early Intervention services help my family and what does it cost?
Early Intervention services can:
- Help you understand your child’s growth
- Partner with you to help you reach your goals for your child
- Meet at a comfortable place for you and your child, in your home or the community
- Connect you to resources
These services are available to you and your child (birth to age 3) at no cost regardless of your income or where you live in Vermont. With your permission, insurance and Medicaid can be billed for services to ensure that programs are sustainable.
5. What happens after I call my local Children’s Integrated Services (CIS) coordinator to see if my child might need Early Intervention services?
A member of the Early Intervention services team in your area will come to your home, or a place that works for you, to listen to your concerns and hear about your child’s development and routines. A developmental screening will be offered if your child has not already had one. A developmental screening will indicate whether or not your child would need further evaluation to determine if your child needs services with Early Intervention. You will have the right to request a screening at any time during the screening process.
If you choose to have your child evaluated, an Early Intervention provider and a team member who is knowledgeable in your child’s areas of concern will complete the evaluation. Evaluations can take place in your home, child care program, or another setting.
6. What happens after my child’s evaluation?
You will receive your child’s evaluation report which is private. It will only be shared with you, the evaluators, and others with your permission. If your child is eligible for Early Intervention services, you will decide if you want to work with a team of professionals from your area to develop a One Plan for your child. Developing your child’s One Plan and all the services provided under the Plan are provided at no cost to you.
7. What is a One Plan?
The One Plan is a document created to help you and the professionals who will be working with your child. It is used to plan goals, track progress, and document appropriate services and supports for you and your child. The One Plan should take into account your routines, culture, lifestyle, and community.
8. What kind of Early Intervention services can be provided? Where are services provided?
Services are provided in your child’s natural environments and the places that are most convenient to your family. The One Plan is a flexible plan, which changes as your child grows and develops.
Early Intervention can help you access services which may include:
- Assistive Technology
- Family training, counseling and home visits
- Medical Evaluation (for diagnostic purposes only)
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Service Coordination
- Social Work
- Special Instruction
9. Who are the people on the Early Intervention team who will support my child and family?
- Service Provider – You may have a regular visitor, who is a primary service provider. This person could be a developmental educator, a speech and language pathologist, a physical therapist or an occupational therapist. This primary service provider will provide direct service to you and your family. If your child has more than one area of concern you may have multiple visitors who specialize in different areas of development.
- Service Coordinator – The Service Coordinator will help you arrange services, support you with finding and using resources, and facilitate meetings and transitions. The Service Coordinator could be your primary service provider, a family resource coordinator, or a medical social worker, depending on your family’s needs and wishes.
All families have access to information from all members of the team even if you have one primary service provider. The members of the team in your area meet regularly and with your permission, they can consult with one another to help your child across all areas.
10. What is my role on the team?
Your role as the parent or caregiver is very important. As an equal member of your child’s Early Intervention team, your role is to:
- Ask questions and share information
- Work with us to develop strategies and activities that will help your child grow
- Integrate those strategies and activities into your family’s daily routine
- Tell us your needs and concerns
11. What will Early Intervention services look like over time?
Once the One Plan is developed, you will meet with your child’s providers to review your One Plan every six months or sooner if you choose. If an assessment shows that your child’s skills are age-appropriate, your child is no longer eligible for CIS-EI services. Your team members can discuss other resources in the community for your child and family.
12. What happens when my child turns 3?
When your child is 2 and half years old, your CIS-EI team will begin to discuss appropriate transition plans.
13. What is Early Childhood Special Education?
Some children may qualify for Early Childhood Special Education. Early Childhood Special Education is special education and related services for children 3 to 5 years old that are provided by your local school district at no cost to you. Special education is special instruction that meets your child’s individual needs.
Related services are services your child may need to help them successfully participate in special education, such as speech and language, occupational or physical therapy, transportation, or counseling. Services are run by local school districts in partnership with local early childhood service providers to make sure that children with disabilities are educated along with typically developing children in their community and not segregated.