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IFSP Tutorial - Developing and Implementing

Developing the IFSP:

Essential Content

Page 7 of 13

The role of service coordinators during development and implementation of an IFSP

The IFSP is a family’s plan for where they want to go and how to get there; it is not a treatment plan for early intervention providers. As identified in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, service coordinators can play a pivotal role in developing and implementing IFSPs with families by:

  • Assisting parents of eligible children in gaining access to the early intervention services and other services identified in the individualized family service plan;
  • Coordinating the provision of early intervention services and other services (such as medical services for other than diagnostic and evaluation purposes) that the child needs or is being provided;
  • Facilitating the timely delivery of available services; and
  • Continuously seeking the appropriate services and situations necessary to benefit the development of each child being served for the duration of the child's eligibility.

These responsibilities are delineated in the following service coordination activities:

First contacts
  • Visit family informally to gather information and develop rapport
  • Obtain releases of information to facilitate sharing of information and notify referral source that initial contact with the family has been made
  • Maintain communication with referral sources and other contacts that may be requested by the family
  • Plan with families for evaluation/assessment and assist families in identifying their priorities, resources and concerns.
Developing an IFSP
  • Facilitate and participate in the development of the an initial IFSP
  • Coordinate the completion and dissemination of the initial IFSP documents following confidentiality and time frame guidelines
Ongoing activities
  • Develop and maintain interagency contacts.
  • Coordinate and monitor the delivery of services.
  • Facilitate and participate in periodic review and annual evaluation of the IFSP.
  • Inform families of the availability of advocacy services.
  • Assist families to identify their priorities, resources, and concerns throughout the IFSP process.
  • Facilitate communication between the family, early intervention providers and other formal and informal services/supports.
  • Facilitate problem solving and collaboration among team members.
  • Maintain current information regarding services available in the community

Adapted from Nebraska Early Development Network, 2004

While the IDEA requires that service coordination be provided as an active, ongoing process, it does not specify how it should be implemented. Two primary models for providing service coordination are used in Maryland:

  1. Blended: the service coordinator provides early intervention services as well as the responsibilities and activities of service coordination, described above.
  2. Dedicated: the service coordinator fulfills only the responsibilities and activities of service coordination, described above.

The intended outcome of effective service coordination is for families to understand the formal and informal resources in their community so that they receive appropriate supports and services to meet their individual needs. To accomplish this, service coordinators and other early intervention providers must place families at the center of team decision making. Family members must also be supported in their efforts to enhance their child’s health, development and participation in family and community life, including successful transition to other community resources, as appropriate, at age 3 years. (Research and Training Center on Service Coordination, 2002).


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