What is Early Intervention?

Early Intervention is a collection of services families may need if their infants/toddlers have developmental delays and/or health care needs. In Nebraska, early intervention services are outlined in the Early Intervention Act. The state regulation covering early intervention services in Nebraska is NDE Rule 52 and DHHS 480 NAC 3 – Early Intervention Services Coordination Manual. More information can be found at www.sos.ne.gov/rules-and-regs/regsearch.

How do I know if my child is eligible? (Rule 52 – 006.04)

If you have a concern about your child’s development, or your child has been diagnosed with a health condition that will affect his/her development, he/she may be eligible for early intervention services. To refer your child, please contact Elkhorn Public Schools at 402 289-2579 ext 11000.

What Happens After Referral?

A Services Coordinator will contact you and will talk about the program and the process as well as answer any questions you and your family may have. With your permission and consent, the Services Coordinator will gather information about your child and family. A Services Coordinator will:
• contact your family to determine if you are interested in Early Development Network services;
• arrange for an evaluation of your child;
• make sure services are delivered smoothly and properly;
• inform you of services in the community;
• convene a team meeting to develop a plan for services for your child and family; and
• gather information about your family’s goals and concerns.

You are entitled to help from a Services Coordinator up to the time of the evaluation. If your child is verified as having a disability, the Services Coordinator’s services will continue.

What are the steps to determining if your child is eligible for Early Intervention Services? (Rule 52 – 006)

Within 45 days from the date of referral, the following activities must be conducted:

• Screening may be conducted at the discretion of the Early Intervention team;
• Evaluation;
• Multidisciplinary Team determination of eligibility for Early Intervention Services;
• Child and Family Assessment;
• Development of Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP);

What is Screening? (Rule 52 – 006.03)

At the discretion of the Early Intervention team, screening may be conducted to gather initial information about an infant or toddler to determine whether or not the infant or toddler has a disability. This includes the use of appropriate screening instruments by professionals trained to administer the screening instrument. You must be given a description of the screening process and why it is being used so you can decide if you want to give your informed written consent before the screening is conducted. You may decline the option of screening and instead request a multidisciplinary evaluation be conducted at any time before, during, or after the screening procedure. The professional must ensure that you are aware of your options before initiating the screening procedure. Professionals in no way should imply to you that a screening tool can be used in a way to “rule out” an evaluation. You may choose not to proceed with an evaluation based on information from the screening tool, but the professional must make sure you know your rights in this circumstance.

Who will serve my child?

Professionals from a variety of educational specialties are assigned to the educational team, based on your child’s unique needs. A typical team includes a services coordinator, early childhood special education teacher, speech-language pathologist, occupational therapist, physical therapist, vision specialist and school psychologist. The best-suited professional is selected to be the Primary Service Provider (PSP) and will be the main contact for the family. The PSP will have regular visits with the family to offer suggestions, answer questions and share information that may be relevant to the child’s needs. All team members remain available to support the PSP and family. Team meetings are held regularly where the PSP updates team members on the child’s progress. Team members can suggest additional strategies for the PSP to address the family’s questions and concerns. If necessary, team members can participate in co-visits with the PSP and family.

How often will visits occur?

The frequency of visits is determined based on the needs of the child and family and the recommendations of the team. During the school year, services follow the school district’s calendar. If there is no school, there will be no visits scheduled. This includes snow days. During the summer, services will continue to be scheduled regularly if your child is on an IFSP (Individual Family Service Plan).

Where will visits take place?

Visits occur in the child’s “natural environment”. This means wherever works best for the family and child. Visits can occur in the home, a daycare setting, or even a park or trip to the grocery store!

What will happen during a visit and do I need to “get ready” for the PSP to arrive?

Early intervention builds upon and provides supports and resources to assist family members and caregivers to enhance children’s learning and development. This occurs through everyday learning opportunities. There is no need to prepare for the Primary Service Provider (PSP). Infants and toddlers learn best through daily experiences and interactions with familiar people in familiar contexts. The primary purpose of the home visit and the PSP is to work with and support family members and caregivers in children’s lives. Your PSP is flexible and prepared to “go with the flow” and model during the home visit to meet your child’s needs and your concerns on that day.

Why a Primary Service Provider Model and natural environment? How can this help my child progress?

The PSP model is beneficial for families in a number of ways. The child and caregivers establish a relationship with the primary service provider. Having the team available for consultation allows families to gain information from professionals in a variety of educational disciplines, but with the convenience of making appointments with one provider. It’s the family and other constant caregivers that influence the child. The goal of early intervention is to maximize the influence of the PSP on the family and caregivers. All of the intervention for a child occurs between visits. The home visits should be where the family gets information, strategies, and encouragement so they can make the most of the learning opportunities that occur in the course of the child’s normal family life.

What if my child’s needs change?

As your child makes gains, the PSP will be monitoring all developmental areas. If you and the team determine a new concern has arisen, and a different professional on the team is better equipped to become the PSP, then that will occur. The most important person on your child’s team is you. Your input will always be respected and appreciated. Most of all, you will hopefully find that the relationship you build with your primary service provider will be one of trust and confidence.

Early Development Network