Collaboratively Develop Expected Outcomes.
After assessment information is collected, the team meets to review the information and the family's concerns, priorities, and resources to develop statements of expected outcomes or goals. Active family involvement is essential.
Collaborative goals focus on enhancing the family's capacity and increasing the child's participation in valued activities.
Assign Intervention Responsibilities.
After outcomes are identified, the early intervention team assigns responsibilities for intervention services that support those outcomes.
An IFSP requires an integrated, team approach to intervention. Using a transdisciplinary team model is one method of integrating information and
skills across professional disciplines. In the transdisciplinary model, all team members
(including the family) teach, learn, and work together to accomplish a mutually agreed
upon set of intervention outcomes.
Individuals' roles are defined by the needs of the situation rather than by the function of a specific discipline.
In a transdisciplinary model, one or a few people are primary implementers of the program. Other team members provide ongoing direct or indirect services, such as consultation. For example, an occupational therapist can observe
a toddler during meals, then recommend to the parent how to physically assist the child.
Identify Strategies to Implement the Plan.
This step involves working closely as a team to increase learning opportunities,
to use the child's surroundings to facilitate learning, to select the most effective
strategies to bring about the desired outcomes, and identify reinforcers that best support the child's learning.
Implementation may involve a toddler participating in a library story hour one
afternoon a week; a physical therapist showing family members how to use
adaptive equipment; or a service coordinator completing the paperwork to pay for a child's transportation from his or her home to needed services.
Intervention strategies should help promote generalization of outcomesi.e.,
the child performs new skills in a variety of environments after intervention has
ended. For example, both service providers and family members can encourage a child to request desired objects (e.g, toys) with gestures in numerous environments (e.g., home, playgroup, child care).
Interventions should target several outcomes during one activity. When a child participates in an activity, he or she uses a variety of skills from a number of
developmental areas. For example, during mealtimes, a toddler may use
communication skills to request more juice, fine motor skills to grasp a spoon,
a social skills to interact with a sibling.
Intervention strategies should help a child become more independent in his or her world. The selected strategies might involve offering physical assistance during mealtimes, prompting the correctresponse during a self-care routine, or providing simple pull-on clothing to enable a child to dress without assistance.
Interventions provided within natural environments should look like a "typical activity."
For instance, a child learning to develop her fine motor skills should be encouraged
to color, draw pictures, play with puzzles, build with blocks, pick up her toys, use
eating utensils, play finger games, etc. Ideally, interventions should
- Be embedded in everyday natural environments.
- Emphasize the acquisition of functional competencies.
- Make it possible to increase a child's participation within the environments.
- Include both social and non-social activities
Evaluate Early Intervention
to Ensure Quality
Both ongoing and periodic evaluations are essential to any early intervention program. An evaluation may focus on a child's progress toward
obtaining desired outcomes and upon the quality of the
intervention program itself.
Ongoing monitoring of the child's progress
requires keeping records in a systematic manner in order to answer such critical questions as
To what extent and at what rate is the child making
progress toward attaining outcomes?
Are the selected intervention strategies and activities
promoting gains in development?
- Do changes need to be made in the intervention plan?
Periodically reviewing the IFSP provides a means of sharing results about the child's progress and integrating these results into the plan. Part C of IDEA requires that the IFSP be evaluated and revised annually and that periodic
reviews be conducted at least every six months (or sooner if
requested by the family). This ongoing process provides a continual support
to the family and child as they realize their own strengths and resources
to help their child learn.
acknowledge your source. This digest was prepared
with funding from the Office of Educational Research
and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department of Education, under Contract No. ED-99-CO-0026. The opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the positions
or policies of OERI or the Department