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Early Intervention in MI

Early intervention is a system of services provided by the state of Michigan that help babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities. Early intervention focuses on helping babies and toddlers reach developmental milestones that are typically reached during the first three years of life. These can include physical (reaching, crawling), cognitive (learning, problem solving), communication (speaking, understanding), social (playing), self-help (eating, dressing). 

Services that an infant or toddler may be eligible for are:

  • Assistive technology (devices a child might need)
  • Audiology or hearing services
  • Speech and language services
  • Counseling and training for a family
  • Medical services
  • Nursing services
  • Nutrition services
  • Occupational therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Psychological services

Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that every state and territory in the United States provides early intervention services.

Early Intervention in Michigan: 

How to get a referral
For some children early intervention will be discussed from the moment they are born. Often this is for children who are diagnosed at birth with a specific condition or who experience significant prematurity, very low birth weight, illness, or surgery soon after being born. Some children, on the other hand, have a relatively routine entry into the world, but may develop more slowly than others, experience setbacks, or develop in ways that seem very different from other children. For these children, a visit with a pediatrician and a thorough evaluation may lead to an early intervention referral. 

If you have contacted and met with your child’s pediatrician and continue to have questions or concerns you have a couple options, you can  

  1. In the state of Michigan you can contact Early On at 1-800-Early-On or complete the online referral form for evaluation 
  2. Contact your local Intermediate School District directly. Example: Macomb Intermediate School District (MISD) in Macomb county 
  3. Crawl, Walk, Jump, Run also offers FREE 30 minute screenings with a skilled therapist to identify and discuss concerns and determine if further evaluations are needed. 

Once a referral has been created

your child will be assigned a service coordinator who will explain the early intervention process. The service coordinator will not be your single point of contact with the early intervention system 

Next, a screening and/or evaluation will be done

to see if your child, indeed, has a developmental delay or disability. The screening and/or evaluations will be performed by a group of qualified people to determine which services your child would benefit from. The evaluation/screening must be performed within 45 days of the referral being created. 

Who is financially responsible:

Under IDEA, evaluations and assessments are provided at no cost to parents along with the development of the IFSP and service coordination. For other services you may be charged a sliding scale fee based on gross yearly earnings. 

The Individualized Family Service Plan

or IFSP is a written document that, among other things, outlines the early intervention services that your child and family will receive. 

  • INDIVIDUALIZED: The plan will be written specifically for your child and family. 
  • FAMILY: The plan will focus on the changes/goals you want to see for your child and family as a result of your participation in Early On.  These changes are referred to as outcomes. 
  • SERVICE: The plan will include details of the early intervention supports and services your child and family will receive including what, where, when, how often, how long, and by whom services will be delivered. 
  • PLAN: The plan is a written document that can be changed as your child’s and family’s needs change. “

See here for more details 

Other Resources:

Early On Michigan 

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

Michigan Alliance for Families 

Michigan Department of Education 

A Parent’s Guide to Working with MDHHS

If you or a loved one is in need of physical, occupational, or speech therapy please call us today at 586-323-2957 to schedule a 30 minute FREE screening.

Written by: Alyse Elbode, PTA

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