Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What happens when my child is too old for early intervention services?

Your child has been getting services for some delays for awhile. It's all going well. Then they tell you that once he turns 3 he will age out of early intervention. AHHHHH! What now??

If your child still shows a delay at the end of their early intervention time then your service coordinator will make a referral to the committee for preschooler special education. Each school district has their own committee and they may have different policies.

Will they still get the same services? It depends on your child and their needs. There are a lot of differences between EI and the CPSE system though. This is based on my experience in Monroe County, NY. Please feel free to share your experiences in other places.

Differences between EI and CPSE:

Early intervention:
1. Services run all year round.
2. Based on parental education- the goal is to teach the parent how to help the child thrive within the family unit. Services take place in the child's home or daycare center. IFSP meetings take place in the child's home.
3. Decisions about services are left to the service coordinator, the therapists and the parent. All services must be approved by the county early intervention designee but in my experience whatever the therapist thinks the child needs is what the child gets.
4. Quicker turn around time to get evaluations and services started.

1. Services are based on the school calendar. No summer services unless your child shows regression over school breaks (that's ANOTHER whole topic!) This applies even if your child is not in preschool.
2. Based on the impact to your child's education. If your child's delay does not affect his or her ability to access their education then they are unlikely to allow services to continue.
3. Decisions about services are made by the committee for preschool special education. This is made up of a chair, some teachers, your child's therapists and you. Anyone that you invite can come to CPSE meetings. These meetings are not in your home but usually take place in a school in your district.
4. It can take a long time to get the evaluations and services because nothing can happen until the CPSE meeting and they can be difficult to schedule.

I remember having a tough time transitioning to CPSE.. it was a scary time for my son because I was afraid he would no longer get what he needs. It was rough at first but after a few months we eventually got him the services he needed and ended up with more services than he had received under early intervention.

When your child is getting close to aging out of EI they should receive transition testing. This is more evaluations to determine your child's most current state of development. Once they have looked at your child from every angle the current therapists should make recommendations about what your child needs.

Next- the CPSE meeting and the writing of the IEP.

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1 comment:

  1. I have to say, for us the change to the school district meant a huge improvement in services with better programs and better trained staff. Plus access to other kids and opportunities to work on social skills.