PARENT PARTICIPATION IN IFSP PROCESSES
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Parent Involvement in IFSP Meetings
Parents are essential partners in early intervention and must be encouraged to participate in all IFSP team decisions. In order to ensure parents' involvement, Area Education Agencies, and signatory agencies must provide parents the opportunity to participate in Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) meetings discussing all aspects of their child’s early intervention services.
Providing Parents with Meeting Notices
Each AEA, typically the service coordinator, must take steps to ensure that the parents of a child with a delay or disability are present at each IFSP team meeting.
- All IFSP team meetings must be scheduled at a mutually agreeable time and location for the parents and the AEA staff
- Parents should be provided with notice of an IFSP team meeting early enough to afford them the opportunity to attend the meeting
The meeting notice must be provided in writing and include the following information:
- Purpose of the meeting (e.g. to discuss the results of a full and individual evaluation or the development of an initial, annual, reevaluation, amended or exit IFSP, etc.)
- Time of the meeting
- Location of the meeting
- Who will be in attendance (name and position) at the meeting
- Information about the right to include other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise about the infant or toddler
Typically, AEAs will utilize the Meeting Notice form available within the Web IFSP system to notify parents of IFSP meetings. In “writing” could include the use of the paper meeting notice or email that contains all the legal components of the written meeting notice.
Meaningful parental participation in early intervention processes and decision making is dependent upon effective communication. Therefore, AEAs must take whatever action is necessary to ensure that the parent(s) understands the proceedings of the IFSP team meeting, including arranging for an interpreter for parents with deafness or whose native language is not English.
The primary role of an interpreter and translator is to be a conduit for oral and written communication between individuals who have different communication methods (i.e. sign language) and English-speaking staff. An interpreter conveys information orally, while a translator conveys information in writing.
Copies of IFSP Documents
AEAs must provide a parent with a copy of the child’s IFSP at no cost to them. A parent should be provided a copy of each IFSP written for their child.