A Product of Disability Access: Empowering Tribal Members with Disabilities & Their Families
by Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc.
What is an IFSP?
We completely understand anyone who believes that going to meetings is about as boring as watching paint dry. We feel the same way ourselves. This is one meeting, though, that can make a difference in your child's life and your life. Native American families hear that line a lot, "Make a difference in your child's life." It is understandable if you are a little suspicious. Yes, you love your child and want the best for her, but is this meeting really going to matter?
The IFSP is designed to look at the whole family and how the whole family can work together with the services available to help your child. Your involvement really can make it better, but you need to know what should be on the IFSP and how to make sure that decisions are made that fit your child.
Here is what should be on an IFSP (but often isn't)
1. Test results and other information on your child's strengths and weaknesses.
The first thing on the IFSP is the results of tests your child has been given and other information about your child's present level of development. Information should be given on your child's performance in several areas. These include language, fine motor skills, gross motor skills, social and cognitive. Sometimes the results are very clear. For example, the chart below shows the number of words the average child spoke at 30 months and the number my child spoke.
It was very clear to me, as I think it would be to most people, that something was not right and my child was behind in language development.
Sometimes it is not that clear. If your child is seven months old and the test results say that Amanda is at an age-equivalent of five months, is that something to be worried about or is it not very important? The most important thing you can do as a parent is ASK and if your questions are not answered to your satisfaction, ASK AGAIN.
What does age-equivalent mean? It means that 50% of children of a particular age can do the same things as the child tested. For example, by age four months, the average child would be able to lift her head while lying on her stomach, turn her head from side to side, turn her body on to one side, unclench her hands and use them to bat at or grasp objects. If your child can do these things, then she would have an age equivalent to four months for gross motor skills.
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Spirit Lake Consulting, Inc. -- P.O.Box 663, 314 Circle Dr., Fort Totten, ND 58335 Tel: (701) 351-2175 Fax: (800) 905 -2571
Email us at: Info@SpiritLakeConsulting.com