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Early intervention

6 Things to Do If You’re Denied Early Intervention

By Annie Stuart

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If your child doesn’t qualify for early intervention services, it’s not the end of the road. Learn steps you can take to advocate for your child.

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Know what to expect.

When the evaluation team meets with you, they provide you with a description of the evaluation. It should include information about the specific test and methods used, your child’s responses and what the scores mean. You can give your opinion about whether or not the evaluation showed your child’s strengths and difficulties, or if you think more information is needed.

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Make sure your child’s evaluation was fair.

The evaluation needs to be conducted in the language in which your child is most proficient and sensitive to your family’s culture. The same goes for the evaluation summary: You must receive it in your native language or in a way you’re comfortable communicating. If you prefer, an interpreter can translate it for you. And remember that one test alone can’t decide your child’s eligibility. Most states require that children’s cognitive, physical and communication skills be evaluated.

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Speak up.

If there’s something you don’t understand about the evaluation, ask questions. If that’s hard for you to do, remind yourself that it’s for your child. It’s the job of the evaluation team to help you understand exactly what the evaluation means. Let the team know right away if you disagree with the results of the evaluation. You can request another evaluation, including an independent one not done by the school district.

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If you disagree with the results, take charge.

Nobody knows your child better than you. If you disagree with results of the evaluation, you can challenge the decision by making a written request for mediation or an impartial or due process hearing. The service coordinator can help you with this. Learn about what to expect at a mediation session or due process hearing. And remember to keep notes of all conversations and copies of any letters you send.

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Even if you agree with the results you might still need help.

You can ask your service coordinator to assist you. She can connect you with supports and services in your own community. Ask about parent support and advocacy groups in your neighborhood. You can also connect with parents like you in our online community.

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Help at home.

There are things you can do at home to help promote your child’s development and get him ready for school. Here’s one example for a child whose language skills are delayed: When you take your child to the park, encourage him to touch and feel the plants or trees. Describe what he’s seeing or doing, even if he doesn’t respond. This can help promote curiosity, as well as social skills and pre-reading.

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Is your child showing signs of developmental delays? If so, you can try strategies at home and get outside help, including early intervention services. Here are some tips to try.

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About the Author

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Annie Stuart

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Reviewed by Whitney Hollins Mar 07, 2014 Mar 07, 2014

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