skip to main content

The Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) & Developmental Assessment

The IFSP is a document that outlines the type of early intervention services your child will receive. A team of professionals- in conjunction with the child's family- develops the IFSP. Since you play an integral part in its development, it is important for you to understand the IFSP document and how your child will be assessed.

What does an IFSP include?

The major components of an IFSP include:

  • Cover Page that provides basic demographic information.
  • Levels of Development / Child Outcome Ratings Page that documents the results of the assessment and provides a picture of the child's current level of development in comparison to same-aged peers.
  • Functional Outcomes Page that outlines the goals established for the child. Family input is critical for this section of the IFSP to make sure that the goals being established are consistent with family priorities and are delivered in the child's natural environment.
  • The Authorized Service Plan Page is a detailed listing of the specific professional services that will be provided to the child including specifics on who, when, where and how often the services will occur.
  • Transition Page documents planning that has or will occur prior to changes in services. This is especially important when the child is nearing 3 years of age and begins the process of leaving early intervention services.
  • An Implementation and Distribution Authorization Page verifies that legal safeguards and privacy rules have been followed.
  • Meeting Participants Page documents participants in the IFSP.

Detailed information about the IFSP is available from:

How will my child be assessed?

The assessment component of the IFSP will look at five areas of development:

  • Physical - assesses fine and gross motor skills, how the child integrates with his/her environment, along with vision and hearing,
  • Cognitive - assesses a child's thinking skills and how he or she processes information,
  • Communication - assesses a child's receptive (understanding) and expressive (producing) language abilities,
  • Social/emotional - assesses how a child interacts with other children, adults and his/her environment,
  • Adaptive - assesses self-help skills like dressing and feeding.

The assessment of your child should stem from a multidisciplinary play-based evaluation.

A multidisciplinary assessment means that there should be a variety of professionals from different backgrounds assessing your child. Find out more on professionals in the field of early intervention.

A play-based evaluation means that your child will be observed while playing with other children and/or adults in a child-friendly environment.

The purpose of the assessment is to accurately document your child's abilities so the team can determine whether your child is eligible for early intervention services and then to develop an appropriate IFSP for your child. As part of the assessment you will be asked for your input about your child's development and your family's priorities. Find out more about how to talk with others about your child.

"Tips for Your Child's Developmental Assessment," developed by Zero to Three, provides helpful tips as you get ready for a developmental assessment.

Contact Us

Johnna Darragh-Ernst

Professor Early Childhood Education

1500 W Raab Road
Normal, IL 61761
Phone: 309-268-8746

Email: johnna.darragh@heartland.edu