Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Thoughts about IFSP Meetings

In order to qualify for services, children need to meet specific criteria. That's necessary. I get that. No one wants to provide therapy to children who don't really need it, and we can't afford to treat everyone who is even a little delayed, so you set a criterion and treat the children who need it the most. It is practical and theoretically fair if the same criteria are applied to everyone.

However, when the system is set up in this way it causes stress and tension. Parents want therapy for their children and are nervous about qualifying. When the time comes for a new meeting, the parents are hesitant to celebrate their child's successes because they are afraid they may no longer qualify for services that are still very much needed.

So, instead, you focus on all of the areas in which your child still struggles. It makes the meetings more than a little depressing. And although early intervention can be a wonderful experience and resource for families (it is for us), the time frame for early intervention ends so early. Ava will have been in the early intervention program for only a little over a year and then she will age out.

Then you have to start the whole process over again with your local school district and their criteria are even harsher. At yesterday's IFSP meeting, our service coordinator mentioned that next month we will need to hold a transition meeting. The purpose of that meeting, as I understand it, is to introduce us to the school district people that will be handling evaluating Ava to see if she qualifies for their services when she turns three.

And so time, and the special education processess, marches on.

(more on how our IFSP meeting went tomorrow)


  1. We are "lucky"? that little man will still qualify for EI until he is three, even though he hasn't had his most recent eval - this is because we have the formal evaluation from the big hospital. The scary thing, he may not qualify for special education because he can access most of the curriculum by pointing and gesturing...(seriously? That's an education?). I'm so afraid he won't get picked up for the integrated preschool and he'll only get 2x 30 a week for speech services, that we've already contacted a lawyer. The stress is insane. I start to hyperventalate just thinking about it. I can't imagine parents who aren't educated or who have limited means doing what we're doing for our children. It makes me shudder- and I'm a teacher in a public school!

    Something that is helpful to go to is a turning three meeting. I don't know the name of the national foundation, but they have them to help educate parents on the IEP process. I found it helpful to attend as a parent, even though I knew a lot of the info from being a teacher.

    The good news, we will fight to no end for our children with apraxia. :)

  2. I know what you mean, Gentle Blue. I know that it is unlikely that Ava will qualify for services once she turns three. That's not going to stop me from trying though.

    I also find it frustrating that it is so much easier to get PT or OT covered. I don't know why people don't understand that being able to communicate is important too.


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