Now what? Many families new to early intervention have questions about the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP), the team-based model, potential services and supports, the role of families, and how it all works.
AzEIP is Arizona’s statewide interagency system of services and supports for families of infants and toddlers, birth to three years of age, with disabilities or delays. AzEIP is established by Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which provides eligible children and their families access to services to enhance the capacity of families and caregivers to support the child’s development.
In Arizona, a team-based approach is used in the provision of early intervention services. The team includes a Service Coordinator and providers, including a team lead. The Service Coordinator coordinates the initial screening and subsequent evaluation, as well as the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meetings for the child. The Service Coordinator also helps families identify potential providers, including a team lead and team members. The team lead is a provider who has expertise relevant to the child’s needs and outcomes, and will be the family’s primary partner. The team lead’s focus is on collaborative coaching of families to implement the jointly developed, functional IFSP outcomes in natural environments with ongoing coaching and support from other providers/team members. All team members communicate and work together to meet the child’s needs and outcomes by using everyday family routines and activities as learning opportunities.
Potential Providers/Team Members Could Include
- Speech Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Developmental Special Instruction
- Social Work
- Psychological Services
- If your child is DDD/ALTCS eligible: Respite, Nursing, ABA Therapy and Other Services
Families Play an Integral Role in Early Intervention
Your input matters! Parents work with their child’s AzEIP Service Coordinator and providers to create goals and focus on important priorities for their child and family. These goals and priorities are used to create the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
What will the initial visit look like? Check out this helpful video AzEIP created for families.
During your family’s IFSP meetings, you and the other team members will discuss what your family wants, what you are already working on, and any concerns or interests you may have about your child’s development. Together, you and your team will consider the appropriate functional outcomes (goals) for your child and family, and what supports and services will be used to help your child and family achieve these outcomes.
- Infants and toddlers learn best through everyday experiences and interactions with familiar people in familiar contexts.
- All families, with the necessary supports and resources, can enhance their children’s learning and development.
- The primary role of a service provider in early intervention is to work with and support family members and caregivers in children’s lives.
- The early intervention process, from initial contacts through transition, must be dynamic and individualized to reflect the child’s and family members’ preferences, learning styles and cultural beliefs.
- Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) outcomes must be functional and based on children’s and families’ needs and family-identified priorities.
- The family’s priorities, needs and interests are addressed most appropriately by a primary provider who represents and receives team and community support.
- Interventions with young children and family members must be based on explicit principles, validated practices, best available research, and relevant laws and regulations.
How Long Can Your Child Stay in Early Intervention?
Your child and family may stay enrolled in AzEIP until your child turns three years old or until your child no longer needs early intervention. As your child nears two and a half years old, your Service Coordinator and providers will talk to you about transitioning to other programs, which may include a preschool program for children with special needs offered by your local school district, a Head Start program, or a local childcare center. There are several steps in the transition process and your child’s Service Coordinator will support you along the way.
At the Transition Planning Meeting, the team will create a Transition Plan. The Transition Plan is part of the child’s Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), not a separate document. It contains a “to-do” list of activities needed to ensure a smooth transition to the program that will serve your child when they turn three, along with the names of people responsible for completing the activities, the date an activity should be completed, and the actual completion date. Examples of activities to be completed include: (1) gathering the child’s progress measurement information; (2) reviewing the child’s progress with the family; (3) preparing the child for changes in service delivery, including activities to help the child adjust to and function in a new setting; (4) with the parent’s consent, sending evaluation data, copies of IFSPs, and other information to the preschool agency and/or other agencies the family has identified; and (5) coordinating a Transition Conference with the family, preschool program, Head Start, and other agencies that may continue services..
There will be an automatic referral to Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) preschool and a transition conference may be held with your consent. The AzEIP team will invite preschool personnel from the local district to talk about services the preschool may provide and the screening process the district uses to determine if developmental preschool will be the appropriate option when your child turns three.
Read more about the Transition from Early Intervention to Early Childhood Special Education
Raising Special Kids offers training for families called Early Childhood Education. It covers AzEIP, developmental preschool, kindergarten, and all of the steps in between. Parents learn what they need to know as they transition through these programs with their child. We encourage you to check out all of our training on our Training and Workshops page.
Do you still have questions? Need more information? Want to talk to someone about your situation? Contact Raising Special Kids!