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Developing a Great IFSP

Arriving at the IFSP with the Right Tools
Developing a great IFSP is easy when you have the “right tools”—the right tools include: (1) knowledge about the family’s everyday routines and activities, (2) knowledge about child and family participation within those routines and activities, and (3) knowledge about the family’s concerns and priorities. 

Reviewing Family Concerns and Priorities
The IFSP meeting begins with a review of the concerns and priorities the family identified during initial contacts they had with the Services Coordinator and Early Intervention providers prior to the IFSP meeting.

Describing a Child’s Present Abilities
When the family concerns and priorities have been reviewed, the IFSP meeting facilitator will summarize the child’s abilities within each developmental domain: vision, hearing, health/status, cognitive/thinking, communication, social/behavioral, self-help/adaptive, and fine motor and gross motor.

Developing and Prioritizing Functional Child and Family Outcomes
Review of the outcomes identified by the family during the child and family assessment phase comes next in the development of the IFSP. During the Routines-Based Interview (RBI), families will have identified and prioritized outcomes for themselves and their child. This portion of the IFSP meeting is spent transforming those priorities into measureable outcomes written in language the family can understand.

Natural Environments
A good IFSP outlines intervention supports to be provided in a child’s “natural environments” whenever possible.

Utilizing Family Strengths and Resources for Each Outcome
A philosophy of Family-Centered Services demands programs be built on existing strengths of the family and the child.

Identifying Supports & Services for Each Outcome
When the child and family outcomes are written, discussion will occur about supports and/or services needed for the outcomes to be achieved. Once identified and agreed upon, the supports and/or services will be listed on the IFSP. Discussions will focus on who will do what, where and when; and include conversations about start dates, roles and potential strategies, etc.

IFSP as a Living Document
The IFSP will be reviewed and updated every six months or earlier at the request of the family. It is meant to be a flexible “living” document based on a family’s needs and priorities which will change with time and circumstance.

Sample IFSPs
Find examples of IFSPs developed for training purposes

Planning for Transitions
It is essential to anticipate the time when the child will no longer receive early intervention services as well as other transitions the child might make, e.g. from home to child care, from home to the hospital, etc..

Quiz - Developing an IFSP
Test your knowledge of the material contained in this section of IFSPWeb. If you want to keep track of your journey and results through the website you must login to create your profile. After you login, complete the quiz at the end of the module. If you are sharing your results with a supervisor, your supervisor must login to create a profile so that they can view your results. If you need assistance you can email: librarian@answers4families.org or call 1-800-746-8420 or 402-472-0844.

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