Frequently Asked Questions about Transitioning from Early Intervention (EI) to School Services during COVID-19
By Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)
At age 3, children transition from early intervention (EI) to school services. Specifically, children often transition from an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to an Individualized Educational Program (IEP). During COVID-19, no changes have been made at the federal or state level changing the transition process. However, given other changes due to COVID-19, this document is intended to help families understand the transition process.
Have any changes to the transition process been made due to COVID-19?
No. There have been no formal changes at the federal or state level regarding the transition process. Current guidance about the transition process is still valid. To see guidance about transition and schooling (in general) during COVID-19, consider:
•Illinois State Board of Education guidance about the transition process
•Illinois State Board of Education guidance about schools during COVID-19
•Illinois State Board of Education Transition Re-opening Plan
•When I’m 3, Where Will I Be? A Family’s Transition from Early Intervention, English Version
•When I’m 3, Where Will I Be? A Family’s Transition from Early Intervention, Spanish Version
Given COVID-19, is my child still entitled to a free, appropriate public education?
Yes, for early intervention and school services, your child is still entitled to receive a free, appropriate, public education in the least restrictive environment. For such guidance, see the federal mandate for free, appropriate public education during COVID-19.
Does the school have to conduct an evaluation before my child can receive school services?
The school must determine eligibility for special education before your child’s third birthday. In the determination of eligibility to receive special education services, the IEP team may consider EI/IFSP reports to be sufficient with no further evaluations needed for determination of eligibility [34 CFR 300.305]. The family must provide written consent during the domain review to use their Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) with their local school district. In doing this, the district uses information from the IFSP as the evaluation to determine eligibility and develop the IEP, and no additional evaluations are completed. This is an IEP team decision, which includes the parent(s)/guardian(s).
What may school services look like for my child?
In Illinois, every school has determined plans for the school year. Regardless of the plan, the school has an obligation to provide an individualized education that is appropriate for your child. Also, the education must be provided in the least restrictive environment. ISBE released information about special education services during Phase 4 of the reopening plan. See: https://www.isbe.net/Documents/SpEd-FAQ-Return-to-InPerson-Instruction-2020630.pdf The school may also consider contracting with providers (including early intervention providers) in order to provide services outlined in the IEP.
What if I have questions or concerns about the transition from early intervention to school services?
As the parent of a child receiving services, you have rights. At no cost to you, you can talk to other parents about your rights at either of the Parent Training and Information Centers listed below:
• Family Resource Center on Disabilities (serves McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage, Cook, Kendall, Will and Grundy counties; www.frcd.org)
• Family Matters (serves all other counties in Illinois; https://www.fmptic.org/)