FAQ's

What is Part C Early Intervention?

Early Intervention programs are funded through a formula grant from the US Department of Education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C. 

 

Part C of IDEA is for Infants and Toddlers with Developmental Delays and Disabilities. It is a federal grant program that assists states in operating a comprehensive statewide program of early intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental delays and disabilities, ages birth through age 2 years, and their families.

 

The name of the American Samoa Early Intervention program is Helping Hands. The lead agency for Helping Hands is the AS Department of Health.

 

What are Early Intervention Programs?

Early intervention programs provide a range of targeted services to help young children who have developmental delays or specific health conditions. Early intervention services are provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

 

Why is Early Intervention so important?

The early childhood years lay the foundation for all future development. Early diagnosis and treatment for developmental delays increases the chances of improvement rather than simply “waiting it out” and treating problems later.

 

Earlier is better - when treating communication and language difficulties. Early treatment can prevent potential problems with behavior, learning, reading and social interaction.

 

By age 3, most of the major brain structures are mature, and it becomes more difficult to make significant changes in a child’s growth and development.

Who will be involved in my child's Early Intervention services?
The adult/caregiver will be actively involved in each Early Intervention session. By actively engaging the adults in each early intervention session, key early intervention skills and strategies will be shared by the early intervention service provider and later can be practiced by the parent/caregiver beyond the session.

 

What types of services does Early Intervention offer?
Early intervention offers services such as specially designed instruction, occupational therapy, physical therapy, social work nutrition/dietary, speech and language pathology, psychological and behavioral supports, hearing and vision; in addition to access to resources and assistive technology.

 

How do I make an Early Intervention referral?

To make a referral you can either use our referral form or simply go to the Contact Us page and send the following information:

  • Your name

  • Phone number 

  • Child's name

  • Child's date of birth 

  • Reason for referral

  • Contact information 

  • Background/notes

A referral can be submitted using any of the methods below:

  • Phone:  684.699-6962, 6963 

  • Office:   7:30am - 4:00pm (Intersection of Ottoville and Fagaima Road in Ottoville; across from Cost-U-Less)

  • Email:  Contact@helpinghands-as.org

  • Mail:  HELPING HANDS Early Intervention Program, PO BOX 7477, Ottoville Road, Ottoville, American Samoa  

  • Contact  page to submit online

 

Who is eligible for Early Intervention services?

A child up to three years old and their families may be eligible for Early Intervention Services. In most cases the child was either born early (premature) or has a:

  • health condition or a disability

  • communication / speech delay

  • attention difficulty

  • behavior concern

  • difficult time crawling, walking, or doing things independently.

 

A child or family may also qualify for services if they are experiencing any environmental or social emotional stress that could potentially affect the child’s overall development.

 

Where do Early Intervention services take place?

Services are provided in the natural settings for the child. Natural settings may include the child’s home, childcare centers, family childcare homes, and other community settings.

 

How is eligibility determined?
First, a screening is conducted. This is a quick process, usually just a few questions about your child’s development. The screening helps to determine if an evaluation is needed. 

 

If the screening determines a more in-depth evaluation is needed an evaluation will be scheduled. The evaluation will only occur with your written permission. You will be given a consent form to indicate that you understand and agree to the evaluation. The evaluation will look at all areas of your child’s development. During the evaluation, you and members of the team will talk about the good things your child is doing as well as identify any concerns. The evaluation will also determine the strengths and needs of your child and family.


If your child is determined eligible, the information from the evaluation will help the team know what is important to your family and will help create meaningful individualized services.

 

Planning for an evaluation begins with a team; you and your service coordinator or representative from the early intervention program. Other team members may participate as appropriate for your child’s and family’s needs. You are the expert on your child and your participation as a member of the team is very important.

 

How do I prepare for the evaluation
Inform the service coordinator or your early intervention contact person if you need an interpreter or other assistance.

 

Be ready to share information that you think is important:

  • current health appraisal, medical records, a baby book, growth chart, or other evaluations or reports.

 

Think about your child and any questions or concerns you might have related to his or her development.

  • Be prepared to share information about activities that are challenging for your child and family to participate in at home, in the community, and at child care or preschool, as well as what your child and family enjoy doing together.

  • Think about where your current support comes from, for example, your extended family, a faith community, your neighborhood, a parent group, etc.

What is an Individualized Family Service Plan, (IFSP)

An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a written plan for infants and toddlers.

With your service coordinator you help develop the IFSP. You are an equal partner on the team. As the parent and expert on your child, your knowledge of your child is important to the development of the plan.

 

Your IFSP team will meet together and discuss the information gathered from the evaluation about your child’s strengths and needs.

  • The planning meeting is your opportunity to share ideas for your child and family with other members of the team.

  • It is also your opportunity to share information about your daily routines, preferred activities, and activities that are challenging for your family.

  • This information will provide your team with ideas about how to target early intervention supports and services to meet your child’s and family’s needs.

 

What is included on the IFSP?

The IFSP must include:

  1. A statement of your child’s level of development

  2. With your consent, a statement of the family’s strengths, priorities, and concerns as they relate to your child’s development

  3. Information or assistance to help you access community resources

  4. Special considerations that relate to vision, hearing, challenging behaviors, communication, and needs related to assistive technology or transitions

  5. The measurable goals or outcomes expected for your child and family, as well as how and when it is hoped they will be achieved

  6. A description of early intervention services that are to be provided, as well as in what setting they will occur

  7. A statement of when services are expected to begin and how long they will continue

  8. The name of your service coordinator 

  9. A written plan for transition once your child turns 3 years old

  10. The date when the IFSP will be reviewed

 

Where are IFSP services provided?
Early intervention services must be delivered in settings that are consistent with the needs of your child and family. To the maximum extent appropriate,

  • services and supports are provided in environments, including the home and community settings, in which children without disabilities participate.

  • Early intervention supports and services are embedded in the learning opportunities that exist within your typical routines in the home, community and/or childcare/preschool programs.

  • Early intervention services should support the child’s participation in the typical routines of family and community life.

 

When do early intervention services and supports start?
The IFSP is the foundation of early intervention services. The details of the services including the start date will be on the IFSP.

  • Early intervention services must start no later than 30 calendar days from the date you agree to the services described in the IFSP unless you and the team recommend a later date

  • You may request an IFSP meeting to discuss the potential need for changes at any time by getting in touch with your service coordinator or contact person.

 

How do I prepare for the IFSP meeting?

How to prepare for the IFSP:

  • Identify your child’s unique qualities and strengths.

  • Think about what you and your family want for your child now, and in one, two, or five years from now or even as an adult.

  • Identify the questions you have regarding your child. All questions are important. For example: Why is she so fussy? Why is he so quiet? Is that ok? Is that a concern?

  • List what you and your child really enjoy doing such as: playing with water or sand, watching TV, or going for walks. This will help you and the teams identify how you can use these routines to help your child develop and grow.

  • Consider the special needs your child has. Think about what your child might need to reach his or her full potential: adaptive equipment, feeding or self-help skills, help to move around, or help to communicate.

  • Consider issues for which you would like help in finding the solution. For example, do you as a family like to go to the beach, but you’re concerned about how to take your child?

 

What is the Transition?
Transition means movement from the early intervention program to the next program or service, such as:

  • From early intervention services to a preschool program

  • From early intervention services to ECE or child care programs

  • From early intervention services to Special Education…??

 

How does my family plan for a successful transition?
As a very important part of the team, you need to know all the options—ask questions:

  • What is needed for my child?

  • What is available?

  • Who is involved?

  • Where are they?

  • When is this transition going to occur?

  • How will the transition occur?

  • What activities will help my child adjust to the transition?

  • How can my family and child be supported through this change?

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