Yo soy La Lay

adventures in family, faith, and Down syndrome

Advocacy #29: Support Early Intervention

on October 29, 2015

Early Intervention is not a new topic here.  The number of posts tagged “Early Intervention” takes up three full pages on this site.  Right now, funding for EI is on the chopping block in Illinois.  We have a budget problem for a lot of reasons and every cranky person in the state has an explanation (some real, some not) and a solution (some constitutional and some not) and while the rest of the world has the benefit of just being able to complain about it without having their worlds turned upside down, my family does not have that luxury.  More on that tomorrow.  Today, some background on EI.

Early Intervention started in 1986.  It provides therapy services for children ages birth to three that show some developmental delays, be they physical, social, emotional, or cognitive.

EI is partially funded by the state, partially through federal funds, and families pay a monthly fee on a sliding scale based on income.

States can decide how to set up their EI programs within some federal guidelines.  Right now in Illinois, a child has to display a 30% delay to qualify.  It is estimated that about about 13% of children qualify for services, but only 20,000 kids are getting services right now (about 3.5%).

Each child develops an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) and goals to help the child function in their environment.  Goals are reviewed every six months.  Services (therapies) are scheduled based on what the goals for each child are.  Therapists come to the home to provide these services.

It is estimated that about 50% of children who enter EI as children are able to be remediated in their skills to the point where they do not need Special Education services when they enter the public school system.  Those who are not completely remediated still make significant gains.  And the earlier we start, the farther they go.

Early Intervention is crucial.

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