Early on what it means to infants and families
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EARLY ON: WHAT IT MEANS TO INFANTS AND FAMILIES. Kathy Manta LMSW , ACSW. SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW 1970’s. Extension of civil rights Michigan approved special education laws before the Federal laws were enacted

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EARLY ON: WHAT IT MEANS TO INFANTS AND FAMILIES

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EARLY ON: WHAT IT MEANS TO INFANTS AND FAMILIES

Kathy Manta LMSW, ACSW


SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW1970’s

  • Extension of civil rights

  • Michigan approved special education laws before the Federal laws were enacted

  • Michigan law provided services from birth to 26 (one of five states with a birth mandate)

  • Federal law provided services from three to 21


INFANT/PRESCHOOL PROGRAMMING IN MICHIGAN PRIOR TO EARLY ON

  • Followed classroom approach

  • Teachers and therapists were the experts

  • School year schedule

  • IEPs yearly

  • Only educational personnel included in services

  • Goals written based on developmental expectations


FEDERAL LAW FOR BIRTH TO THREE, 1980’s

  • Services provided in the natural environment, defined to mean where children without disabilities would be

  • Families are the experts

  • Year round schedule

  • IFSPs developed every year, goals reviewed every six months

  • Goals written by families


  • Includes services from education, medicine, and other community agencies

  • The IFSP and the family service coordinator organize the services


POINTS OF CONFUSION

  • Both Special Education and Early On (Michigan’s name) are part of the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA. Special Education is Part B and Early On is Part C

  • In Michigan, we still have rules that cover children with disabilities birth to three under Special Education. In addition those children are covered by Early On. Some children are dually enrolled


  • After referral, all children under three receive a multidisciplinary evaluation completed with standardized tools.

  • Five areas of development are measured: cognitive, gross motor, fine motor, speech, social emotional and self care.

  • Children with any level of delay are eligible for Early On and


  • When an evaluator feels a child is at risk of a delay, the child can be eligible for Early On and

  • Some medical conditions automatically qualify a child for Early On

  • Children who have more significant delays and meet the criteria for a diagnostic category under Special Education laws are eligible for Early On and Special Education. These children are dually enrolled.


  • Dually enrolled children need an IEP and an IFSP


WHY DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

  • Each state needed to decide a lead agency for Part C

  • In Michigan, the Department of Education was selected because of the birth mandate

  • All agencies involved with infants and young children are part of Early On i.e. Department of Social Services, Community Mental Health and Public Health


  • In some counties, Early On is perceived to be education’s responsibility

  • In some counties, other agencies write IFSPs and refer the child to education at three.

  • Paperwork is separate from the paperwork that is required by other agencies

  • The continuum from mild impairment to severe impairment is more adaptable to education


WHAT DO EARLY ON SERVICES LOOK LIKE

  • Parents self-refer or respond to a suggestion by their doctor, friend, etc.

  • Can call 1-800-EarlyOn or their local Intermediate School District

  • Will receive a response within 24 hours

  • Evaluation completed and initial IFSP within 45 days of referral

  • IFSP signed within 60 calendar days of the referral being received


  • If child is eligible, goals are written and services are determined

  • Services will be provided in the natural environment unless there is a written rational for services given in another location

  • Goals are reviewed every six months

  • IFSPs rewritten every year

  • Transition plan developed 90 days before the child’s third birthday


ROUTINES BASED INTERVIEW

  • IFSP process includes asking :

    • What is your typical day like

    • What part of the days is most enjoyable

    • What part of the day is most difficult

    • What supports are helpful

    • What activities do you enjoy doing with your child

    • What activities are very stressful


WHAT ARE YOUR CONCERNS

  • Not just those related to evaluation but also child’s ability to:

    • Play with other children

    • Calm down, quiet down

    • Look at you

    • Sleep

    • Relate to family members


WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT

This can include anything including:

  • Planning for the future

  • Child care

  • Information on child’s condition

  • Financial resources

  • Finding specialists

  • Talking with other families with a child like mine


“WE JUST WANTED TO HAVE A BABY”UNDERSTANDING FAMILIES

  • Grieving the baby they thought they were having

  • Loss of many supports due to grief of others

  • Strain in marriage

  • Need to find a reason


  • Denial asa coping skill

  • Parent needing to act as a professional

  • Worry about other siblings

  • Facing the community


WHAT STAFF CAN PROVIDE

  • Tell the truth but be kind

  • Respect the need for defense mechanisms

  • See the positives in the child and speak of them

  • Support the parent/child connection

  • Recognize the stress of a new baby, a sick baby, sleep deprivation, etc.


  • Try to demystify the school and IFSP/IEP process

  • Be knowledgeable of community resources


EARLY ON ALLOWS ALL OF US TO PROVIDE A STRENGTH BASED, FAMILY FOCUSED , SUPPORTIVE INTERVENTION FOR FAMILIES WITH INFANTS AND TODDLERS WITH DEVELOPMENT DELAYS AND HEALTH ISSUES. IT IS WONDERFUL WORK


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