As of January 2022, some children who are in Early Intervention (EI) may be eligible to extend EI services past the child’s third birthday. Only some children will qualify. This document will help to answer the questions that you may have and provide you with resources as you make the best decision for your child and family.
What are Early Intervention Extended Services (EI/ES)?
The Illinois Early Intervention Extended Services (EI/ES) System offers parents of eligible children the choice to continue Early Intervention (EI) services beyond their child’s third birthday until the start of the school year following their third birthday.
Who is eligible for Early Intervention Extended Services (EI/ES)?
To qualify for Early Intervention Extended Services (EI/ES), your child must:
- Be determined eligible for early intervention with services identified and consented to on the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), and
- Have their third birthday between May 1 and August 31, and
- Be found eligible for early childhood special education services under IDEA and Section 14-8.02 of Public Act 102-0209 (Section 11h) and have created an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
How do I get started with Early Intervention Extended Services (EI/ES)?
Your service coordinator and EI team will begin the transition process about six months before your child turns three. You will be asked to sign a consent for a referral to your local public school, often called the Local Education Agency (LEA). The LEA will contact you to begin the evaluation process to determine eligibility for services.
How do I choose EI/ES?
- If your child is eligible (see above), you can choose to have your child receive EI until the beginning of the next school year or you can choose for your child to receive special education services through the school district.
- The decision about EI/ES services should be made at your child’s IEP meeting. The meeting will include representatives from the school district, early intervention, and you.
- When the Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed, you can choose one of two options:
- To continue with the services on your IFSP through the summer months with your current EI Provider(s) and begin special education services at the beginning of the school year following your child’s third birthday
- To exit early intervention and begin special education services through your school district as of the date on your IEP.
What if I exit early intervention and then decide that I want EI/ES later?
Once you exit early intervention, you cannot re-enter EI after your child’s third birthday.
How will the school district know that my child will be staying in early intervention until the beginning of the next school year?
- Your service coordinator will discuss the EI/ES option with you as early as nine months prior to your child’s third birthday.
- You will discuss this with the school district at the IEP meeting and make the decision at that time.
- You must provide consent to extend EI services.
My child turns three after my school district starts in the fall but before August 31. Can I do EI/ES until the next school year?
No. If, in the same calendar year, your child’s third birthday occurs after the start of that school year, your child will not be eligible for EI/ES.
How can I talk to other parents about the transition process?
Contact your Parent Training and Information Center to talk to other parents about this decision:
- Family Resource Center on Disabilities serves the Chicagoland area (Cook, DuPage, Grundy, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties)
- Family Matters serves the rest of the state
Where can I find more information about EI/ES?
- Illinois Department of Human Services initial parent notification about the availability of early intervention / extended services
- The Early Intervention Training Program’s June 2 EI Extended Services Announcement includes information for families and providers about EI/ES.
- The Early Intervention Training Program developed an interactive tool help determine if a child is eligible for Extended Services in Illinois.
- The Early Intervention / Extended Services Parent Information Notice (June, 2022)
- The Illinois Early Intervention Services System Act Public Act 102-0209 (Section 11h)
- The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act