Essential Elements of the IFSP

Early intervention services are essential for children who have autism. Early diagnosis and Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy can help young children be ready for school when the time comes. All children who qualify for early intervention services are legally entitled to receive an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). In contrast to the Individualized Education Program (IEP), which is designed for school-aged children, the IFSP is a family-oriented document. It considers not only what the child needs to thrive, but also what the family needs to support the child’s development. 

Current Abilities and Skills 

After listing the family’s vital statistics, such as the contact information, the next section in the IFSP is an in-depth description of the child’s current abilities and skills. This section is divided into categories: 

  • Physical skills 
  • Cognitive skills 
  • Communication skills 
  • Self-help or adaptive skills 
  • Social/emotional skills 

Some examples of skills at this age level include holding and manipulating age-appropriate toys, transitioning from using a bottle to a cup, and vocalizing to initiate interactions with others. This section of the IFSP will explain what the child is able to do, as well as what he or she isn’t able to do, based on age-appropriate milestones. 

Family Resources, Concerns, and Priorities 

This section of the IFSP describes the family’s resources, such as whether the parents have college degrees and who watches over the child during the day. It also considers nearby resources, such as the proximity of autism treatment centers. Parents are encouraged to discuss their concerns for the child and the family as a whole, and to identify what their priorities are. For example, it may be a priority for the child to develop better muscle tone so that he or she is able to act more independently. 

Measurable Outcomes 

This is the goals section of the IFSP. All goals must be specific and measurable. For example, a goal that’s too vague might be: “Jane will improve her communication.” Instead, the goal should be something like this: “Jane will learn to use simple words, and to understand and follow one-step directions.” Each measurable outcome is followed by a discussion of the strategies and activities that will help the child reach the goal. 

Early Intervention Services 

This portion of the IFSP details the child’s early intervention services. It explains where the child will receive services, such as at a local autism treatment center. It also details how many sessions per week the child will have, and how long those sessions will be. 

The Behavior Exchange is a leading provider of early intervention services for children with autism in the Plano and Frisco areas. Our highly trained and experienced ABA therapists look forward to meeting your family and helping your child achieve his or her goals. You can reach us at (888) 716-8084. 

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