Early Intervention Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Am I required to participate in my child’s Early Intervention services? 

Parents or other caregivers are vitally important members of a child’s Early Intervention team. You can share information and ideas, and offer feedback about what is working or not working for your child. You will also learn new ways to help your child learn and grow during every day routines and special activities. Being fully involved when your child is receiving Early Intervention services may help your child succeed, so talk with your Early Intervention service providers about scheduling appointments when you or another caregiver can be present.

Q. Why do you need my insurance information?

If you have health insurance, it may be used to help pay for Early Intervention services. You will not have to make out-of-pocket payments or co-payments. Monroe County and New York State will pay these expenses for you. State law prohibits payments made for Early Intervention services from counting against annual and lifetime caps in your insurance policy.

Q. How soon will my child's Early Intervention services start?

When your child becomes eligible for Early Intervention services, we will work with you to create an Individualized Family Service Plan, or IFSP. After we write this plan, most services can begin as soon as possible. However, some services will require a prescription from a health care professional before your child can begin. Other services may have limited openings. If this happens, we will actively seek openings for your child and let you know when one becomes available on a first come, first served basis. We will also help you find interim resources, such as parent learning opportunities or group activities for your child.

Q. What does a special instruction teacher do?

Special instruction teachers are trained to look at the whole child. She/he looks at what is behind the delays that are manifested in motor and language areas. While the tasks they work on with a child appear to be the same as an OT, SLP, or PT, teachers are looking beyond the specific skill to see how the child interacts with their environment and with other people. Teachers tend to look more at how the whole brain is working and provide activities that hook up all the skill sets together so that the child is able to develop independent responses as they engage with the world around them.

Teachers look at how the child plays. Is the child able to play independently with success? Does the child retain learning? Is the child able to take what they learn and use it in a variety of settings?   They look at how the child adjusts to changes. Can the child access specific skills needed when they are presented with changes?  They also look at how a child approaches new tasks where they have to use their current understanding and skill sets such as language skills, motor skills, and social skills.

We learn though our senses so a teacher looks at the senses to see which sense the child is able to learn through most effectively. Which sense provides the child with the strongest memory?  If a child is having difficulty teachers are trained to look at a task and break it down to see where that difficulty is occurring.  They are trained to identify motor delays, language delays, social delays, adaptive delays. Teachers identify a delay, identify the best learning modality (sense) for that child and then develop activities using that modality to increase the delayed skill set.

An experienced teacher knows what cognitive/problem solving skills precede a motor skill or a language skill. They know what motor skill supports specific language development. They know what motor and language skills are needed to develop specific social skills and specific self care skills. They also know how to sequence all these skills into an effective program that promotes optimal growth in their students.