"One guiding principal of the IFSP is that the family is a child's greatest resource..."
-National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
If your child has been recently diagnosed with a developmental delay or disability, federal and state law require an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) be created by your local educational agency (LEA). An IFSP is a written plan that focuses on the early development of your child in his or her natural environment, usually the home or early child care setting, through collaboration with the family and professionals like social workers, therapists, and doctors.
What is an IFSP?
An IFSP targets children from birth up to age 3 who have been diagnosed with physical, cognitive, communication, social/emotional, or adaptive development delays. The IFSP emphasizes strong family intervention including in-depth analysis of the family's concerns, needs, and resources.
According to the California Department of Education, the IFSP must include:
· Levels of development in cognitive, physical, communication, social-emotional, and adaptive areas (ex: Tim communicates with peers using only grunts and noises and has a vocabulary of less than 10 words including "hi" and "mine." His expressive language is in the 12-24 month range.)
· Detailed family information
· IFSP outcomes (ex: Tim will say ten new words)
· Types of services
· Location of services (must be the "natural environment")
· Initiation and duration of services
How is it different from an IEP?
An Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is an educational document that is narrower than the IFSP as it focuses on educational development in the school environment as this chart shows.
LEA is responsible (a service coordinator)
LEA is responsible (the school)
Focus is on overall development needs
Focus is on a "fair" education compared to non-disabled peers
Family ultimately determines outcomes
Entire IEP team (teachers, parents, the school's representative) determines outcomes
You, as parents, have the right to be involved in every step of your child's early development plan.
Contact Our Office
If you have any questions about your child's special education services, Contact us by email or call us at 714-602-1498 or 866-781-7723 (toll free) for more information.
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