Outcomes: Measuring the Success of Early Intervention

As you get ready for your individualized family services plan (IFSP) meeting, you will hear a lot about outcomes. In early intervention (EI), we have three types of outcomes to measure success:

Family outcomes: As part of your participation in early intervention, we will help you gain knowledge and skills in these three key areas:

  • Knowing your rights: Understanding the roles of the people who work with your child and family and knowing whom to call if you are not satisfied with the services your child receives.
  • Communicating your child’s needs: Understanding your child’s special needs more so you can effectively communicate those needs to those who work with your child and family, advocating for your child and family, and feeling like part of the EI team when discussing your child.
  • Helping your child develop and learn: Feeling more confident in your skills as a parent, making changes in family routines that will benefit your child, and doing things with and for your child that are good for his or her development.

Child outcomes: It is important to know how your child is developing as a result of receiving early intervention services. You see your child in activities and settings that other team members don’t, and that information is very important. The three child outcomes are:

  • Building positive social relationships: How children interact and play with other children and adults, how they show their feelings, and how they follow social rules.
  • Gaining and using knowledge and skills: How children understand basic concepts, learn new things, solve problems, and use words or other ways to communicate.
  • Taking appropriate action to meet their needs: How children become more independent by learning to move on their own, feed themselves, ask for assistance, begin to get dressed, and take care of their basic needs

IFSP functional outcomes: You know what you want to see change for your child and family as a result of participating in early intervention. Your desired changes and priorities become the IFSP functional outcomes that you develop with your EI team. A few things to keep in mind:

  • A functional outcome may be a change you want to see in how your child participates in a daily routine such as eating or playing with others.
  • You and your EI team will also identify the best services to meet the functional outcomes.
  • To help you start thinking about functional outcomes and the changes you want to see, you may want to consider using the checklist on pages 12 and 13 of A Guide for Families.

You Play a Key Role in Your Child’s Development

As a member of the EI team, your active participation is critical because you know your child best! How can you help?

  • Observe your child when you are at home and in your neighborhood: Pay attention to how your child’s skills change over time and think about what your child is able to do in different settings (home, child care) and with different people (you, siblings, playmates, caregivers).
  • Share what you know with other members of your EI team: Be sure to share your observations about your child’s development and progress with your child’s EI team during the discussion of IFSP and child outcomes.
  • Ask your EI team if you have questions about your child: Ask “What are the next skills we should be looking for?” or “How do I know when my child is making progress?” The EI team can help answer questions you may have about your child’s development.
  • Complete the Family Outcomes Survey: Help early intervention know what’s working well and what can be improved to better support families like yours. The survey can be completed in various ways and assistance to complete it is available in English and in Spanish.

When Are These Outcomes Measured?

Family OutcomesChild OutcomesIFSP functional outcomes
Shortly after your child leaves
early intervention (you will
receive a survey at that time)
– at annual IFSP meeting
– annual IFSP reviews
– within 120 days of your child leaving early intervention
Every six months or more frequently, if you request it

How Is the Outcomes Information Used?

Early intervention uses the child and family outcomes information to understand the impact of the program services and to improve the support we provide to children and families like yours. The state also reports this information to the federal government on an annual basis in the Annual Performance Report, which can be found at http://go.illinois.edu/EIapr.

The IFSP functional outcomes information is used to help your EI team determine the effectiveness of the services provided and the strategies suggested.

Publication date: 2024