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What is an Individualized Family Service Plan?

An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a written document that lists the services that a deaf or hard of hearing baby will get. It guides early intervention services for the baby and the family.

How do I get an ISFP for my deaf or hard of hearing baby?
Babies must be found eligible for services before an IFSP is written. If you suspect your baby has a hearing loss, or if you already know your baby has a hearing loss because of a hearing screening, you can request a multidisciplinary assessment. That is a comprehensive evaluation that checks on all areas of your baby's development.
The evaluation team may get information about your baby's development from the following places:

  • Audiological evaluations
  • Your baby's medical history
  • Doctor's reports
  • Direct observation and feedback from family members (including you) and professionals who have worked with your baby.
  • Results from developmental tests

If the multidisciplinary assessment shows a hearing loss and/or other areas of need, your state must coordinate an IFSP meeting. The evaluations, IFSP meeting, and service coordination must be done at no charge to the family.

Who writes the IFSP?
The IFSP team writes the IFSP together. A baby's family is the baby's greatest resource, so the baby's parents are a very important part of the ISFP team. Other team members may include specialists such as audiologists, speech-language therapists, school personnel from your school district, and other deaf education professionals.

What goes in the IFSP?

  • Your child's current development areas and needs. This may be referred to as the "Present Level of Performance."
  • Family information. This includes the resources your family has for supporting your baby, as well as your priorities for your baby.
  • Goals. The expected outcome of early intervention services must be described.
  • Services. The IFSP must outline all services that your baby and your family will receive. This information should include how often the services will be provided, how long each session will last, where they will be provided, and if services are not provided in your home, the IFSP must explain why not.
  • Costs. The IFSP must identify who will pay for the services.
  • Service coordination. The person overseeing the IFSP must be named.
  • Transition. There must be a plan for moving your baby out of early intervention services and into special education by the time your child reaches age 3.

Additional Resources

  • Many states have websites with very good information about IFSPs. The state of Nebraska maintains an outstanding guide to IFSPs with information that applies to all families, no matter which state they live in. http://ifspweb.org/
  • Wrightslaw.org is a website maintained by advocates for parents of children with disabilities. The website includes descriptions of the IFSP process as well as links to other resources. Wrightslaw: Early intervention and IFSPs



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