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FAQ about the Infant Learning Program

Select a question from the list:

  1. What if I have questions about my child's development?
  2. What is early intervention/infant learning?
  3. What services does early intervention include?
  4. Who is eligible for early intervention in the state of Alaska?
  5. What will it cost?
  6. What is an IFSP - Individual Family Service Plan?
  7. What happens at age three?
  8. What is IDEA - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?
  9. What does Part C under IDEA mean in Alaska?
  10. What are my rights under IDEA?
  11. What if I don't agree with a decision about my child's services?
  12. What are my child care choices?
  13. What do these words mean? (Glossary)
  14. How do I contact the state EI/ILP office?

What if I have questions about my child's development?

If you have a question about your infant or toddler's development

With your informed consent a referral can by made by anyone who is familiar with you and your child (i.e., a doctor, relative teacher, nurse, friend or caseworker.)

What is early intervention/infant learning?

Early intervention is a partnership with families who may need services for their infants or toddlers at risk or with developmental delays and/or disabilities. Early Intervention may:

  • Help you find services you need for your child
  • Help you understand your child's development

Early intervention/infant learning services are designed to help eligible infants and toddlers reach their fullest level of development and enhance the family's capacity to support and promote their infant or toddler's development.

Who is eligible for early intervention in the State of Alaska?

Any child under the age of three years when:

  • They show at least a 15% delay in one or more of these developmental areas:
    • Moving (gross motor)
    • Using Hands (fine motor)
    • Thinking/Learning (cognitive)
    • Understanding/Talking (communication/language)
    • Getting along with others (social/emotional)
    • Doing things for him/her self (adaptive)
    • Have a diagnosed condition that may lead to a significant delay or
    • Are at risk for a developmental delay.

Any infant or toddler with a diagnosed or suspected development delay needs a screening and or evaluation to determine eligibility to be enrolled in a program.

Screening - is a quick look at how a child s learning and growing.

Evaluation - included developmental tests and evaluation by qualified professionals to determine a child's initial and continuing eligibility. The evaluation will determine the status of the infant or toddler in all of the developmental areas and;

  • Will occur only with your written permission
  • Identify strengths and concerns
  • Determine eligibility for early intervention services
  • You always have a choice to receive or refuse these services.

What services does early intervention include?

Services for your child might include:

  • Developmental screening and evaluation
  • An individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) to outline goals and services families want for their children
  • Information for families to better understand their child's developmental strengths and needs
  • Home visits to help the family or caregivers guide their children in learning new skills
  • Physical, occupation or speech therapy to help families support their child with daily activities
  • Specialized equipment and resources to promote development
  • Assistance in getting other specialized services and care families need

Contact your EI/ILP for specific guidelines and definitions of services.

What will it cost?

  • There is no charge for core services (identification, screening, evaluation and family service coordination.)
  • There may be some cost or fees for other services such as direct therapy.
  • Most programs bill Medicaid and private insurance.
  • Contact your local Early Intervention/Infant Learning Program for more information

What is an Individual Family Service Plan - IFSP?

The IFSP is a written plan created by parents and service providers that:

  • Outlines the infant or toddler's strengths and present levels of functioning
  • Describes specific goals and outcomes desired by the parent
  • Describes specific early intervention services to the child and family
  • Usually goes for one year, but can be revised at any time
  • Must include the parent(s), family service coordinator and those involved in the evaluation

Parents:

  • Determine when the meeting will take place
  • Describe specific goals and outcomes important to them
  • May invite anyone else they want to attend

What happens at age three?

At least 6 months before your child turns three, you will be involved in planning a move to the next service provider. In early intervention, this change is called transition . With a parent or guardian's consent, a transition plan meeting will occur at least 90 days before your child turns three. The transition plan will identify special education or other services your child may need.

Click her to access the Step Ahead booklet.

What is IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)?

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law governing the education of children, ages 0 - 21 who experience disabilities. Part C of IDEA provides guidelines for states to follow in providing services to families with infants and toddlers who have disabilities. Each state has it's own criteria for Part C eligibility and a statewide system for assuring that needed services are available to eligible children and their families. Part B of the law gives minimum requirements for special education services to children 3 - 21 years of age.

What does Part C under IDEA mean in Alaska?

Funding is provided under Part C of IDEA to expand and enhance early intervention/infant learning services. Eligibility for Part C is determined through an evaluation/assessment by the local Early intervention/Infant Learning Program (EI/ILP). Children, from birth to 36 months, who meet one of the following criteria are eligible:

  • Developmental delay of 50% or greater in one or more areas of development
  • Disabling condition with a high probability of resulting in a 50% or greater developmental delay
  • Child's development appears atypical and a multi-disciplinary team determines that the child is likely to have a severe developmental delay.

Part C funds are distributed to local EI/ILPs to assist families in obtaining services. Part C funds are limited and not intended to replace existing funding sources such as Medicaid, TRICARE or private health insurance plans. Therefore Part C funds may be used only if there is no other source of payment.

What are my rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act?

Your local or regional Early Intervention/Infant Learning Program (EI/ILP) link to statewide listing will give you information that explains your rights.

Each family has the right to:

An Evaluation - Each infant and toddler that is suspected of having a delay or disability is to have an evaluation conducted within 45 days of the referral to help determine if they are eligible and which services will be need.

Understand - Each parent will be given information in their native language if English is not the family's language of understanding. Also, if the family uses sign language or other means of communications, the family has the right to be given information in the manner they can best understand.

Give Permission - Before a family or child participates in the services of the program, the family has the right to approve or disapprove the recommended activity. This approval must be given by the family in writing.

Plan - Within 45 days of an EI/ILP receiving a request for an evaluation, the family is to receive an evaluation and schedule a meeting to develop a plan. This plan is jointly developed with the family and must be reviewed every six months. If the family wants the plan reviewed sooner they may request an earlier review.

Receive Support - When the plan is being developed, families have the right to request whomever they would like to attend the meeting. They can ask other family members, a friend, or an advocate.

Have Services Coordinated - When a family is referred for service, the family has the right to have a service coordinator. The service coordinator helps the family understand how the service system works and how to get the services they needs as quickly as possible.

Privacy - Each family has the right to give their permission before any information is released that identifies the child or the family to other agencies or individuals.

Disagree - If the family does not agree with any recommendation for services or if they think that they are not receiving the service to meet their child's need, they have a legal voice. They may ask for a change or refuse services without losing other services for their child.

Request Mediation - The parent or legal guardian may ask for a mediator to assist in resolving the conflict between the parent and the EI/ILP regarding services for their child. In order for mediation to occur both the parents and the EI/ILP must agree to mediation. Mediation is at no expense to either party.

File a Complaint - Each family has the right to file a written complaint and ask for impartial person to hear the complaint and get a decision in a timely manner.

Examine their Child's Records - Each family may ask to examine their child's early intervention records whenever they need to. The family may also ask for a copy of the record at any time.

Receive Written Notice of Changes in Service - Each time a service is being planned, changed or refused by the agency to the family, then the family must receive written notice before the change occurs.

Written Plan of Transition to the School at Age Three - When a toddler turns 30 months of age, a written plan is developed with the parent for transitioning services from the Early Intervention/Infant Learning Program to an appropriate pre-school program (Head Start, school etc.)

A Child has a Right to Representation - A child has a right to a surrogate parent to represent them in service matters when a parent is not identified, can not be located, or the child is a ward of the state.

What if I don't agree with a decision about my child's services?

Complaints, Mediation and Due Process:

Parents have rights and protections under Part C of IDEA to assure that early intervention services are provided to their children in a manner appropriate to their needs.

Parents are encouraged to seek assistance and resolve differences beginning with your child's family service coordinator, local program director or the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services, Office of Children's Services. Click here for state contacts .

When differences cannot be resolved, voluntary impartial mediation and/or due process hearings are available.

Mediation is a form of dispute resolution in which an impartial mediator assists disputing parties in a collaborative problem solving process. Mediators help parents and services providers resolve conflicts, clarify issues and develop mutually acceptable agreements.

Publicly funded organization listed here my be able to assist you:

Child Care Options in Alaska

Child Care Resource and Referral Contact List
***These sites also have training and resources

Anchorage:

thread
3500 Commercial Drive, Suite 203
Anchorage, Alaska 99501

907-265-3100
Outside Anchorage:(800-278-3723)

http:www.threadalaska.org

Juneau :

National Association for the Education of Young Children - Southeast Alaska (NAEYC - SEA)
PO Box 22870
Juneau, Alaska 99802-2870
907-789-1235
Outside Juneau 888-785-1235
jlyon@naeycsea.org
http://www.naeycsea.org

Fairbanks

Fairbanks North Star Borough
PO Box 71267
Fairbanks, Alaska 99707
907-459-1439
cca@co.fairbanks.ak.us