With summer around the corner, many families are starting to think about what happens when their child turns three years old, and what they can do now to start preparing for this transition.
At two years and six months, your Early Intervention service coordinator should schedule a Transition Planning Conference with you, your family, other EI members, and anyone else you’d like to be there. Your EI service coordinator will also invite a member from your town’s public school to attend. We recommend that you contact your regional Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (MCDHH) child specialist prior to this meeting to invite them to join as well.
At this meeting, your team will review the process of making a referral to your town’s public school for an Individual Education Program (IEP), if that is what you want. At this point, you may want to consider if you will request a Teacher of the Deaf, an ASL interpreter, an ASL evaluation, etc. to be part of this process. You also will discuss next steps for your family in Early Intervention.
After this meeting, your town’s public school evaluation team will contact you to schedule a consent meeting and any evaluations that you and your team requested.
Once the consent paperwork is signed and evaluations are completed, your town’s public school evaluation team will contact you again to schedule your child’s IEP eligibility meeting. This meeting is only to determine if your child is eligible for an IEP once he/she turns three years old. Again, we highly recommend inviting your MCDHH child specialist to join for this meeting as well.
If your child is found eligible, you will work with your new team to create an IEP with a list of goals, services, and placement. This is where your MCDHH child specialist will provide the most support.
Some things to remember throughout this process:
1. Be sure to request that any evaluations separate spoken language and ASL (if your child is using both) to fully document the child’s ability and progress in each language.
2. We encourage all families to work with the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program (DHHP) at Boston Children’s Hospital (Waltham location) to put together an outside evaluation for your child prior to the IEP eligibility meeting. You can provide this additional information to the IEP team.
3. Ask for help! You are not alone in this process- many families have gone through it before you, and EI and PIP staff are also knowledgeable about this process as well. Reach out with any questions, concerns or comments, and we will provide resources and ideas to best support your family!