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IFSP Tutorial - Developing and Implementing

Developing the IFSP:

Recommended Reading

Law, M. (2000). Strategies for implementing evidence-based practice in early intervention. Infants and Young Children, 12(2), 32-40.

This article focuses on specific strategies that can be used to support an evidence-based early intervention practice. Methods are described about gathering information from the literature, to review research studies critically, and to summarize research information for practice.

McWilliam, R., Ferguson, A., Harbin, G., Porter, P., Munn, D., & Vandiviere, P. (1998). The family-centeredness of Individualized family service plans. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 18(2), 69-82.

This study assess the validity of a rating scale of how family-centered an IFSP is and includes a detailed Appendix with characteristics such as writing style, active voice, positiveness, judgment, specificity, and context-appropriateness. Examples of family-centered and non-family centered IFSPs are also provided in the Appendix.

National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: The science of early childhood development. Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development. Jack P. Shonkoff and Deborah Phillips, eds. Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. D.C.: National Academy Press. (see www.nap.edu/execsumm/0309069882.html for an executive summary)

This extraordinary report regarding research and evidence-based practices supporting early learning and development was produced by a committee of 17 researchers and clinicians with backgrounds in neuroscience, psychology, child development, economics, education, pediatrics, psychiatry and public policy. Their charge was to review all research about the nature of early development and the influence of early experiences on children’s health and well being, to separate established knowledge from erroneous popular beliefs, and to examine the implications of the science base for policy, practice, professional development, and research.

Rosenkoetter, S. & Squires, S. (2000). Writing outcomes that make a difference for children and families. Young Exceptional Children, 4(1), 2-8.

This early intervention provider/parent team offers guidelines for developing the “heart of the IFSP”, the outcome statements which map the path the team members will take together. The authors pose six questions for evaluating outcomes:

1. Do we know why we’re writing this?
2. Does this outcome mesh with activities that the family chooses to do?
3. Have we explored informal, natural and community-based supports to determine whether they might accomplish developmental aims, rather than automatically listing more restrictive options?
4. Who will pay or provide?
5. Is the outcome written in language the family might use, rather than professional jargon?
6. Does this outcome really matter to this child and family?

Especially for families:

Nebraska Department of Education, Early Development Network. www.answers4families.org/ifspweb/outcomes.html

Nebraska’s online discussion of the IFSP provides a clear summary of information for families about developing an IFSP for their children as well as other topics of interest to families.

Squires, S. (2000). Our family’s experience: An important outcome achieved. Young Exceptional Children, 4(1), 9-11.

This article was written by a parent of four children (one of whom has cerebral palsy). Squires illustrates how the IFSP process was used to develop outcomes and strategies to educate the nursery caregivers in the family’s church to integrate her twin girls in the nursery group during church services. One of the girls enjoyed a new social opportunity, her twin was freed from translating her sister’s needs, and the rest of the family participated in church services knowing that both girls were safe and happy.







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Developing the IFSP
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