Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP): An Overview

Corie Viscomi
Feb 1 · 3 min read

What is an IFSP?

An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a document that outlines Early Intervention (EI) services for infants and toddlers (birth to three) who are deemed eligible under their state’s criteria. It contains the child’s current level of functioning, the family’s needs, and the parents’ priorities for their child’s development. Families must give their written consent before services listed in the IFSP can begin. Once they do, services take place in a “natural environment”. This is usually the family’s home, but can be a community location, such as the local library.

Who writes an IFSP?

The team members of an IFSP can vary depending on each child’s specific needs. Speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, and special instructors are a few examples of professionals who might contribute to the development of an IFSP. A family advocate or a liaison from the EI program may also be present. Parents and guardians, however, are the most critical members of the team, because they best understand the child’s needs and their needs as a family.

What’s in an IFSP?

The IFSP contains:

  • People and Organizations Involved: The EI service coordinator, the professionals who will provide services, and the people or organizations responsible for paying for services will be listed.
  • Current Levels of Functioning: This might include medical conditions (and the status of the conditions), cognitive assessments, hearing evaluations, communication abilities and social development.
  • Family Information: A variety of information may be in this section, including strengths and weaknesses of the child and the needs of the family.
  • Services: Specific services for your child will be listed in detail, such as the names of the service providers, length of session, and frequency of session. For example, “Matthew will receive speech and language therapy from The Speech Studio two times a week for 45 minute sessions”.
  • Outcomes: Short term goals should be relevant, specific, and measurable.

What’s next?

The members of the IFSP team must meet every six months to make any necessary updates to the plan. Parents and guardians may request an additional meeting at any time if they feel like that the current plan is not adequately serving their child’s best interests. Prior to the child’s third birthday, the team will meet to discuss a transition plan. Services can be discontinued if adequate progress has been made. If not, the transition to the Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE) would begin, and an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) would be developed for the child.

The Speech Studio is proud to be a New York State Department of Health approved Early Intervention provider. This designation is given to people/agencies that have extensive experience working with the birth to three population, and have committed to a high standard of continuing education to stay at the top of their field. If your child qualifies for speech and language therapy through EI, The Speech Studio is available to provide services. Give us a call at (914) 893–2223 or visit our website for more information.