The RI Early Intervention Project provides training opportunities for Early Intervention staff.
Monthly Supervisor Seminars are held for the purpose of networking and providing technical assistance in areas such as reflective supervision, common concerns, State and Federal updates, and more.
Introduction to Early Intervention, held twice a year, is a requirement for all new EI staff. This four day training covers core competencies critical to understanding the Early Intervention community in Rhode Island, including the values embedded in the EI system which serve as its foundation. In 2009, 55 newly hired Early Intervention staff participated in the Introduction to Early Intervention course.
The training addresses core competencies related to the components of the EI system, including an understanding of:
The purpose of EI as defined in Part C of IDEA and the structure of Rhode Island's Early Intervention system
The key components of family-centered practice
Procedural safeguards which include: family rights/responsibilities; confidentiality and prior written notice; access and location of information; and violation safeguards
Natural environments and natural learning opportunities
Child and family outcomes that are both functional and family-owned
The impact of culture on the relationship between professionals and families and on the delivery of appropriate EI supports and services
Issues, challenges, requirements, and recommended practices in the evaluation and assessment of infants and toddlers
The required components of a quality Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP), including the development of outcomes that are family-owned, functional and measurable
The elements of a quality service delivery model which supports a family's capacity to enhance their child's development
The role of the service coordinator in accessing community resources for infants and toddlers and their families, including Medicaid services
The Rhode Island Transition process and the EI service provider's role in this process
Values Embedded in EI System
The goals and training objectives of Rhode Island's EI system derive from Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act (IDEA). The purpose of Part C (Early Intervention) is to:
a) enhance the development of infant and toddlers with disabilities, b) to enhance the capacity of parents to meet the special needs of their infants or toddlers with disabilities
In order to be most effective in achieving these purposes, we have built our Part C system on the following core elements:
A Family-Centered approach which acknowledges the family as the provider of constant support and the primary agent of change for the child;
An Outcomes-Based rather than a service-based approach
'Family-centered' is not necessarily the same as 'family friendly'. It has a more rigorous definition which acknowledges that families are the constant in a young child's life. The child's caregivers are the actual 'agents of change' for that child. When working with infants or toddlers, a service system can never conceive of the child, in isolation, as the primary consumer within that system.
Medical model systems function primarily between the service provider and the receiver of the care, as shown below.
Traditional Service Delivery Model
Early Intervention is an Outcomes-Based rather than a service-based system. Conversations within the Early Intervention team should always originate from and return to the IFSP outcomes which are "a statement of change" that the family wants to see for their child and themselves. The IFSP team brainstorms strategies for achieving these IFSP Outcomes; but the work is not complete at that point. The team needs to determine how to ensure the family will be able to successfully implement those strategies within their daily routines and family activities.
Outcomes Based Service Delivery Model
Federal and State Laws
Early Intervention is governed under both State and Federal Laws. The Individual with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA, was originally enacted by Congress in 1975 to ensure children with disabilities had the opportunity to receive a free and appropriate education, just like other children. The law has been revised many times over the years. The most recent amendments were passed by Congress in December 2004.
Consistent with IDEA 34 CFR Part 202 (Part C), the Department of Human Services (DHS) has defined a set of standards to ensure compliance with federal and state regulations and to ensure the provision of quality services to the infants and toddlers and their families in the State of Rhode Island. The Certification Standards establish the procedures and requirements for EI services, and serve to provide families, potential applicants, services providers, and other interested parties with a full description of Early Intervention Services.