Leaving Early Intervention: Where Do We Go Now?
Many of our families with children 18-36 months make their way to CSLOT’s early intervention program or individual therapy through their local regional center. Now that your child is almost three, what is next?
Regional centers are nonprofit private corporations that contract with the Department of Developmental Services to provide or coordinate services and supports for individuals with developmental disabilities. They have offices throughout California to provide a local resource to find and access the services available to individuals and their families.
Unless the child fits one of the eligible conditions to continue regional center services, the services through their regional center end when the child turns three years old.
But if your child continues to need services and does not qualify through the regional center, where do you go from there?
Your local school district
Prior to the child’s birthday, your service coordinator will put you in contact with someone from your local school district. They will begin a transition process with you that involves evaluating your child. The school district will review previous reports and evaluations done while in early intervention, but they also need to complete their own testing as they have different eligibility criteria for receiving services.
When the school district completes their evaluation, they will complete a report and hold an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting with you. Similar to the IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan), the IEP meeting will involve a report explaining the results of testing, measurable annual goals, determination how progress will be measured, special education and supports available to your child, the extent to which your child will not participate in regular classes, individual accommodations needed for your child, and the date for services to begin, frequency, location and duration.
Another option is to continue at a private clinic, similar to CSLOT. However, beyond age three, the regional center will no longer pay for the services. Parents are sometimes able to access their health insurance in order to pay for services. If not, then parents pay privately.
Sometimes it can be more intimidating for parents than children to leave familiar services behind! However, it is important to stay informed about available services and rights so that you can continue to be an advocate for your child.
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