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IFSP Tutorial - Evaluation and Assessment

Planning with Families for Evaluation and Assessment:

Essential Content of Planning with Families

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Purpose of planning with families for evaluation and assessment

The overall purpose of planning for evaluation and assessment is to gather and exchange information between family members and early intervention providers so that meaningful early intervention supports and services can be selected during completion of the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The immediate goal is to carry out an evaluation and assessment that yields meaningful information about how a child's developmental status, as well as family resources, influence his or her participation in family life and community activities.

The planning process for evaluation and assessment actually begins with intake, when a parent or someone else first contacts one of the 24 local Infants and Toddlers Programs in Maryland. A planning conversation, however, is distinct from intake in that it involves an in-depth discussion with a family, conducted in a personal visit, to explore concerns, priorities and resources related to a child's development. This sets the stage for identifying family-desired services and supports when the IFSP is developed (Bailey and Blascoe, 1998).

Identifying a child's functioning levels in the various developmental areas is one part of the evaluation and assessment process. Prior to a child's evaluation and assessment a planning discussion should be held with a family to elicit their perspectives regarding:

  • a child's developmental strengths and needs, related to the specific activity settings in which parents would like their child to participate; and
  • the resources that families have available to support their child's participation in family and community life.

Early intervention providers should use their expertise to support families in promoting a child's participation in specific settings, rather than deliver a provider-directed session in a child's home. The differences between traditional and collaborative models of early intervention can be summarized as follows:

Collaborative Model
Traditional Model

Support families in promoting a child's participation in specific activity settings

Coach family members to look for and use learning opportunities within family-selected activity settings

Purpose of early intervention

Improve a child's functioning in a specific developmental area

Provide a discipline related service, typically a provider directed session with a child




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