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IFSP Tutorial - Evaluation and Assessment

Planning with Families for Evaluation and Assessment:

Overview for Planning with Families

Page 3 of 3

Why This Topic Was Selected

Session 2, Planning with Families for Evaluation and Assessment, emphasizes that effective evaluation and assessment is based on collaborative planning and decision making between family members and early intervention providers. There are two primary tasks to accomplish during planning conversations with families:

  1. talk with family members about what they want for their child; and
  2. use pre-existing medical, health and developmental information to individualize a child's evaluation and assessment for the Maryland Infant and Toddlers Program (MITP).

As noted in both the federal and Maryland regulations that accompany the early intervention section of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, evaluation and assessment each have a specific purpose:

Purpose of Evaluation
Purpose of Assessment

Determine a child's eligibility for a state's early intervention program; and

Review a child's status in five developmental areas: cognitive; physical; including vision & hearing; communication; social/emotional; and adaptive.


Identify a child's unique strengths and needs; and;

Assist a family to identify their concerns, priorities, and resources as the basis for developing an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) that will support them in fostering their child's development and participation in desired activities.


Before and during evaluation and assessment individualized information is collected, with families, about how a child participates in daily activities in various settings. Family members have their own perspectives about meaningful participation for a child in home and community activities, based on their family culture, values and traditions. Early intervention providers can prompt family members during planning conversations to:

  • reflect on their desires for a child's participation in daily life situations and activities (family priorities);
  • talk about the strategies, people and places that have been, or could be helpful in promoting a child's development and participation (family resources); and
  • identify what still needs to be addressed (family concerns).

Thus, planning for a child's evaluation and assessment involves assisting families to identify their concerns, priorities, and resources. This is a collaborative process between family members and early intervention providers, and has been described as:


...the ongoing and interactive process by which families share and professionals gather information in order to determine family priorities for goals and services... a continuous process involving both family members and professionals. The primary goal is for professionals to understand what families want for themselves and their children and what they need from professionals in order to achieve these aspirations (Bailey, 1991, p. 27).





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