Source Analysis

1.  New Jersey’s protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities published a paper in March 2008 outlining the importance of providing early intervention services for children with developmental delays.  In the state of New Jersey, early intervention is not mandated and it is underfunded.  As a result, New Jersey began charging parents for some early intervention services.  This paper explains the hardship this has caused families.  The paper also points out that early intervention services provide a tremendous savings to the state as the child grows.  These savings come from reduced need for special education in school and for state developmental disabilities programs later in life.

Institutional source, paid for by a non-profit agency. The audience is anyone working with or caring for people with disabilities.

2.  This month in Arizona, early intervention teachers are delivering letters from Arizona’s Department of Economic Security to families explaining that as of Mar 1, 2010, families will be required to pay a percentage of EI services.  This is a link to the actual letter, along with a chart showing the formula used to determine how much each family will pay.  Also included is a justification explaining why Arizona is allowed to charge families for these services.  Both federal and state law are used to support this family cost share plan.  Since these services aren’t mandated federally, and since Arizona law does not mandate them, the state is free to charge families.

Institutional source, paid for by the state of Arizona.

3.  This US Department of Education site explains how funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of  2009 was supposed to be used to support early intervention programs.  The 500 million dollars allocated to early intervention funding was supposed to be used to allow “…early intervention service providers to implement innovative strategies to improve outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youths with disabilities while stimulating the economy.”  When Judy Newman, co-director of Early Childhood CARES, was asked how her agency used the money, she replied that it was used to save six staff position from being cut.

Institutional source, paid for by federal government.

4.  Investing in early childhood development makes good economic sense.  In March 2003, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis summarized their findings in a paper published in their journal, The Region.  Their conclusion is that money spent on educating children during the first 5 years of life is an investment that saves huge amounts of money throughout the life span of that child.  This paper concludes that children who receive help during their early critical years are less likely to drop out of school, commit crimes, and to receive public assistance.   The authors of this paper made such a compelling argument that, according to Judy Newman,  they were invited to speak to the Oregon state legislature about the importance of increasing early intervention funding.

Institutional source, paid for by state of Minnesota.

5.  Each of the 50 United States have developed state law about how early intervention will be funded and delivered in their own state.  States are federally mandated to provide certain aspects of early intervention at no cost to families, such as evaluations, informing parents of their legal rights, and reviewing children’s progress.  States are free to decide whether or not to charge families for the actual services, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or visits with a developmental specialist.  As a result, each state differs in what services they deliver and at what cost.  Minnesota’s law mandates all early intervention services and does not require parents to pay.

Institutional source, paid for by state government.

6.  A success story of what early intervention can do for a child.  This paper was written in April 2002 by a woman who is both the mother of a child with disabilities and a Kansas State Preschool Coordinator.  She writes about the lessons that Kansas learned while implementing early intervention in her state.  Additionally, she describes how her son received early intervention services in the 1970’s, before they were mandated.  She reports that when her son was 6 months old, a group of specialists recommended having him institutionalized as he would never develop.  He grew up to become a happily married man employed as a web master at a university.

Academic Research source, paid for by state of Kansas.

7.  Illinois Comptroller, Dan Hynes, wrote an open letter in Dec 2009 to all early intervention service providers apologizing for lack of payment for their services.  In this letter, he explains that the problem of non-payment will be getting worse as the state is in debt and does not have money to pay providers for their services.

I believe this is a citizen source.  Although written by a state official, it is a letter written to the people of Illinois.  Paid for by state of Illinois.

8.  As of Feb 2010, Illinois service providers are still not being paid.  Some are beginning to quit working in early intervention and have either left the state or have found jobs in private clinics.  This situation has left some families without services as they wait for new therapists.  Chicago Parent, an online parenting magazine, posted this article.  They are paid by advertisers. This is a journalistic source.

9. Senate testament, given by Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks, in Aug 2009, argues for more funding for services for children with autism.  Children with autism make up a huge portion of the children who receive early intervention services and autism is the fastest growing category of developmental delay.

http://appropriations.senate.gov/customcf/uploads/b30c7d7c-7f11-479f-a7f7-97a492d0b3d5/2009_08_06_-Labor-

Academic source, paid for by the group, Autism Speaks, an advocacy group.

10. The federal law outlined in IDEA, Part C, explains how states must address early intervention.  While a complicated law, it is clear that this law allows the states to decide whether or not they will mandate and pay for early intervention.  This is not the case with special education for children from age 3 through school age. It is only babies who can be denied special education services if the states choose.

Institutional source, paid for by federal government.


Fully Mandate Early Intervention (Making My Case)

Babies with developmental delays and special needs thrive when they receive early intervention services before the age of 3, when their brains are most malleable and open to learning.  The federal government recognized the importance of early intervention when part C of IDEA was authorized in 2004.

Should the federal government require the states to provide special education services for children ages birth to 3 by making all parts of part C of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) mandated?  Without a doubt, mandating all parts of early intervention services makes sense for both the children affected and for society as a whole.

Early intervention has grown from the middle ages when disabled infants were killed, to the 1800’s when most disabled people were institutionalized to, today where current brain research supports the importance of early intervention.

Most professionals and parents support the importance of early intervention.  The part that is not so easy to agree on is who should pay for it and who should provide it.  Right now, each state decides not only what guidelines make a child eligible, but also what services will be provided and how those services will be paid for.  This creates an unfair situation for children and families as services differ from state to state.  This is not the case with special education (from age 3 to 21), which is fully paid for by federal and state funds, as mandated by IDEA, regardless of what state the child lives in.  Families never have to pay for special education services for their 3-21 year old.  By mandating all parts of early intervention services, and backing the mandate up with adequate federal funding, all children would be free to receive the services they need to thrive.

When told that some states are charging families for early intervention services, local early intervention teacher, Kelley McCabe, replied, “That can’t be true!”  In fact, in many states, families are required to pay for the actual services their children receive.  For example, in New Jersey one typical family is billed $346.00 for 8 hours of early intervention services.  When asked how this kind of family cost share plan would affect her families, McCabe replied, “Most of my families would have to drop out of services.”

Arizona has announced that as of March 1, 2010, parents must begin paying for a portion of early intervention services.  “A family’s early intervention experience might be different now that decisions about services are based on the family’s ability to pay, rather than on their child’s needs,” commented Casey Waid, Arizona’s Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities’ current chairperson.  The unfairness of this situation is blatant a child in Oregon gets services based on what they need, while a child in Arizona gets whatever their family can pay for.

People in New York faced with the same possibility of paying for services created an ad to hopefully sway New York’s governor to not require parents to pay for services.

The idea of having states pay for the bulk of early intervention may have been a good idea, but it is no longer working.  In Illinois, the state cannot afford to pay therapists for the services they have been providing. Illinois Comptroller, Dan Hynes, wrote an open letter in Dec 2009 to all early intervention service providers apologizing for lack of payment.  He explains that the problem is only getting worse and he does not know when the state will be able to pay.  In 2004, when congress authorized Part C of IDEA, the idea was to provide federal funding for early intervention.  Congress promised to pay 40%, while the states would pay 60%.  Instead congress is currently paying 17.2% of the cost.  One solution to the early intervention budget crisis would be for congress to fund this program at the promised 40%, thus creating more equality across the states.

There is some confusion about what parts of early intervention are federally mandated and paid for, and what parts can be paid for by parents.  Minnesota explains it well:  States must provide, free of charge, evaluations, informing parents of their legal rights, developing an Individual Service Plan, reviewing children’s progress, and child find.  This means that the state will locate children needing services (such as by posting flyers in local daycares), evaluate them to determine eligibility, write a plan of what therapies are needed, and review how the child is progressing.  What is not automatically paid for is the actual services to the child, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and home visits from a developmental specialist.

Early Interventionist Lacy Williams in Arizona is currently working with parents to determine what services they can afford to keep and what services they must cut.  She is working with two parents of babies with Downs Syndrome who must decide whether or not to continue with both physical therapy and speech therapy, or any therapy at all.  According to Lacy, “One family will have to pay 100% of their services.  They were receiving Physical therapy and Speech therapy weekly and Developmental Instruction bi-weekly, which would total around $715 a month.”  How does a parent decide whether to get help teaching their child to walk, eat, learn or  talk?

Mark Lelan, the co-writer and singer of the song,  Missing Pieces, clearly portrays the challenge of raising a child with special needs.  Proceeds from this song support autism research.  All across the country, individual people and organizations are raising money to support early intervention.  Hopefully the federal government will jump on board and support it too.

The US Department of Education sees the importance of funding early intervention, which is why 500 million dollars of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 went to early intervention in order to allow “…early intervention service providers to implement innovative strategies to improve outcomes for infants, toddlers…with disabilities while stimulating the economy.”  When Judy Newman, co-director of Early Childhood CARES, was asked how her agency used the money, she replied that it was used to save 6 staff positions that otherwise would have been cut.

Investing in early childhood development makes good economic sense.  In March 2003, The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis concluded that money spent on education children during the first 5 years of life is an investment that saves huge amounts of money throughout the life span of that child.  Their paper explains that children who receive help during their early critical years are less likely to drop out of school, commit crimes, and to receive public assistance.  Once the federal government realizes what the Federal Reserve (and many parents) already know, early intervention will be fully mandated and funded.

10 Early Intervention Links

Should the federal government require the states to provide special education services for ages birth to 3 by making part C of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) mandated, thus intervening with delayed children when their brain is at its most teachable state and reducing the need (and cost) of later services?

IDEA part C mandates certain aspects of early intervention (special education for children from birth to 3), including the following:  identification & referral, screening, evaluation, and service coordination.  What is not mandated federally is the actual services provided by developmental specialists, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists.  Each individual state has to provide funding to identify and evaluate children with special needs, and the states have to coordinate services for these children.  However, the states decide who will pay for the actual therapy that children receive, resulting in families in some states being asked to pay for their children’s early intervention services.
1.  New Jersey’s protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities published a paper in March 2008 outlining the importance of early intervention services for children with developmental delays.  In the state of New Jersey, early intervention is not mandated and it is underfunded.  As a result, New Jersey began charging parents for some early intervention services.  This paper explains the hardship this has caused families.  The paper also points out that early intervention services provide a tremendous savings to the state as the child grows.  These savings come from reduced need for special education in school and for state developmental disabilities programs later in life.

Institutional source, paid for by a non-profit agency.

2.  This month in Arizona, early intervention teachers are delivering letters from Arizona’s Department of Economic Security to families explaining that as of Mar 1, 2010, families will be required to pay a percentage of EI services.  This is a link to the actual letter, along with a chart showing the formula used to determine how much each family will pay.  Also included is a justification explaining why Arizona is allowed to charge families for these services.  Both federal and state law are used to support this family cost share plan.  Since these services aren’t mandated federally, and since Arizona law does not mandate them, the state is free to charge families.

Institutional source, paid for by the state of Arizona.

3.  This US Department of Education site explains how funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of  2009 was supposed to be used to support early intervention programs.  The 500 million dollars allocated to early intervention funding was supposed to be used to allow “…early intervention service providers to implement innovative strategies to improve outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youths with disabilities while stimulating the economy.”  When Judy Newman, co-director of Early Childhood CARES, was asked how her agency used the money, she replied that it was used to save six staff position from being cut.

Institutional source, paid for by federal government.

4.  Investing in early childhood development makes good economic sense.  In March 2003, the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis summarized their findings in a paper published in their journal, The Region.  Their conclusion is that money spent on educating children during the first 5 years of life is an investment that saves huge amounts of money throughout the life span of that child.  This paper concludes that children who receive help during their early critical years are less likely to drop out of school, commit crimes, and to receive public assistance.   The authors of this paper made such a compelling argument that, according to Judy Newman,  they were invited to speak to the Oregon state legislature about the importance of increasing early intervention funding.

Institutional source, paid for by state of Minnesota.

5.  Each of the 50 United States have developed state law about how early intervention will be funded and delivered in their own state.  States are federally mandated to provide certain aspects of early intervention at no cost to families, such as evaluations, informing parents of their legal rights, and reviewing children’s progress.  States are free to decide whether or not to charge families for the actual services, such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, or visits with a developmental specialist.  As a result, each state differs in what services they deliver and at what cost.  Minnesota’s law mandates all early intervention services and does not require parents to pay.

Institutional source, paid for by state government.

6.  A success story of what early intervention can do for a child.  This paper was written in April 2002 by a woman who is both the mother of a child with disabilities and a Kansas State Preschool Coordinator.  She writes about the lessons that Kansas learned while implementing early intervention in her state.  Additionally, she describes how her son received early intervention services in the 1970’s, before they were mandated.  She reports that when her son was 6 months old, a group of specialists recommended having him institutionalized as he would never develop.  He grew up to become a happily married man employed as a web master at a university.

Academic Research source, paid for by state of Kansas.

7.  Illinois Comptroller, Dan Hynes, wrote an open letter in Dec 2009 to all early intervention service providers apologizing for lack of payment for their services.  In this letter, he explains that the problem of non-payment will be getting worse as the state is in debt and does not have money to pay providers for their services.

I believe this is a citizen source.  Although written by a state official, it is a letter written to the people of Illinois.  Paid for by state of Illinois.

8.  As of Feb 2010, Illinois service providers are still not being paid.  Some are beginning to quit working in early intervention and have either left the state or have found jobs in private clinics.  This situation has left some families without services as they wait for new therapists.  Chicago Parent, an online parenting magazine, posted this article.  They are paid by advertisers. This is a journalistic source.

9. Senate testament, given by Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of Autism Speaks, in Aug 2009, argues for more funding for services for children with autism.  Children with autism make up a huge portion of the children who receive early intervention services and autism is the fastest growing category of developmental delay.

http://appropriations.senate.gov/customcf/uploads/b30c7d7c-7f11-479f-a7f7-97a492d0b3d5/2009_08_06_-Labor-

Academic source, paid for by the group, Autism Speaks, an advocacy group.

10. The federal law outlined in IDEA, Part C, explains how states must address early intervention.  While a complicated law, it is clear that this law allows the states to decide whether or not they will mandate and pay for early intervention.  This is not the case with special education for children from age 3 through school age. It is only babies who can be denied special education services if the states choose.

Institutional source, paid for by federal government.

Mandating Early Intervention

Should the federal government require the states to provide special education services for ages birth to 3 by making part C of IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) mandated, thus intervening with delayed children when their brain is at its most teachable state and reducing the need (and cost) of later services?

“That can’t be true!” exclaimed an indignant Kelley McCabe, local early intervention teacher at Early Childhood CARES, upon being told that Arizona will begin charging families for early intervention services as of March 1, 2010.

What is not commonly known to early interventionists in Oregon is that Part C of IDEA gives the states the choice of opting in or out in providing early intervention services to children from Birth to 3.  All 50 states have opted to provide these services, but without adequate federal and state funding, some states are choosing to have parents pay for their children’s services.  What this looks like in the state of New Jersey for one particular  family is a monthly bill of $346.00 for 8 hours of early intervention services.

When asked how this kind of family cost share plan would affect her families, McCabe replied, “Most of my families would have to drop out of services.”  McCabe went on to explain that these kids need early intervention now, while their brains are most malleable and life long progress is most likely to occur.  If we wait till age 3, when services are mandated, we’ve lost 3 of the most critical years. Kelly pointed out that if a third grader couldn’t read, parents would not have to get help.  Why should it be any different if that same third grader, at age 2, couldn’t talk?

One of Oregon’s first early interventionists, Judy Newman, co-director of Early Childhood CARES,   sees lack of federally mandated early intervention in a slightly different light.  Her focus is on making early intervention services in Oregon the best that they can be.  That’s why she was instrumental in 1993 in helping to write the Oregon statutes regarding early intervention.  The state of Oregon chose to mandate early intervention services in this state.  “I’m sad to hear that Arizona will be charging families,” remarked Judy.  “This would never happen in Oregon, unless the state law was changed.  It’s a reason why some families of young children with developmental delays choose to move to Oregon,” she explained.

“A family’s early intervention experience might be different now that decisions about services are based on the family’s ability to pay, rather than on their child’s needs,” commented Casey Waid, Arizona’s Interagency Coordinating Council for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities’ current chairperson.  Waid is encouraging Arizona families to contact their local legislators to let them know how family cost share will affect them.

McCabe passionately sums up her view on this issue:  “Early intervention is a program of hope.  It is the only time in a disabled child’s life when parents get home visits and are taught directly how to teach their children. Parents of all American children need hope and support in these crucial early years.”

Parents Must Pay for Children’s Disabilities

Arizona announced that beginning next month, parents receiving early intervention  services for their babies and toddlers with special needs must share a burden of the cost of these services.  Services will be suspended if not paid for within 45 days.

Images of Early Intervention

Early Intervention services should be fully funded by the United States government, decreasing the need for states and private sources to scramble to find funding.  Early intervention services benefit babies and save tax payers money over the course of a child’s life.

Missing Pieces

This video is a citizen source, posted on YouTube .  It was created in Feb 2007.  Mark Lelan, the co-writer and singer of the song, posted this video.   This song was written with Tim Calhoun, the father of a boy who has autism.  The two wrote the song in order to spread awareness about autism and to raise money for autism research.  50% of the proceeds from song sales are donated to national autism research.  The other 50%, presumably, goes into the pockets of the two song writers.  The mood evoked is one of pity for the family going through the process of finding out that their child has autism.  The purpose of this mood is to play on the audience’s emotions so that they will be encouraged to donate money towards autism research.  Images of a sad family and a little boy are shown.  Images of many other children are shown to point out how prevalent autism is.

Early Intervention Budget Crisis

This is a citizen source, posted in Jan 09 by Maximum Parenting on YouTube.  It is unclear who or what Maximum Parenting is, but they seem to be a parenting advocacy group.  I verified the claims in this ad in a New York Times article.  This ad is meant to raise awareness about the governor of New York proposing a state budget that would require parents to pay a fee for their children’s early intervention services.  This ad is meant to incite outrage amongst the general population and encourage people to voice their disapproval of this proposed budget.  What is in the frame are many images of frail, small, disabled children.  Also included are words accusing the governor of wanting to charge families for their children’s disabilities.  What’s not in the ad is any reference to the fact that congress won’t fully fund early intervention services, thus forcing states to cope with funding these mandatory services on their own.

Early Intervention History

Should Congress fully fund early intervention special education services for babies with special needs?

Timeline of Early Intervention Special Education Services

1.  Middle Ages (476 – 1799) Infants and children with disabilities were gotten rid of in a variety of amazingly cruel ways.

2.  1868-  14th Amendment added to the Consitution of the United States.  Used later to argue for the rights of children with special needs to receive an equal education, just as children of color were receiving an equal education.

3.  1876-  The American Association on Mental Retardation is founded in the United States.  This association advocated for routinely institutionalizing people with disabilities.  An improvement over tossing disabled infants over cliffs, but clearly we had a ways to go.

4.  1954 Brown vs. Board of Education–  The court case that resulted in the desegregation of schools.  This case was used later to argue for the rights of all children (including children with special needs) to receive an equal education.

5.  1975- The Education of the Handicapped Act is passed.  School-aged children with special needs are allowed access to an education.

6.  1986- Finally Early Intervention!  Well, sort of.   Part H is added to the Education of the Handicapped Act, which allows for states to create discretionary programs for children from birth to age 3 with developmental delays.

7.  2004- IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the new name for the Education of Handicapped Children Act) part C is implemented, finally providing federal funding for early intervention programs.  Congress is authorized to pay 40% of the costs of educating children with special needs.  Congress decides to pay 17.2% of the costs, while individual states pay the rest.

8.  2007-  IDEA is reauthorized. Early intervention services are to take place in babies’ “natural environments” (such as their homes or daycares) instead of in special classrooms.  This begins the current practice of providing home visits for babies with special needs.

9.  2009-  States struggle to maintain funding for early intervention programs.  In Oregon, early intervention budget cuts began in June.

10.  2011–  IDEA is due to be re-authorized.  This is a chance for congress to fully fund early intervention services.

Articles for Further Information

1.  A description of how special education is funded by the federal government. http://febp.newamerica.net/background-analysis/individuals-disabilities-education-act-funding-distribution

2.  An article written by a father about why IDEA should be fully funded by the federal government.

#mce_temp_url#

3.  The benefits of early support in the home for parents of young children.

http://www.house.gov/apps/list/speech/edlabor_dem/rel061108.html

4.  Not all parents want early intervention home visits.  Some see it as an intrusion of the government into their family life.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2009/oct/14/home-educators-address-mps

5.  One early interventionist blogger’s ideas about home visits.

http://naturalenvironments.blogspot.com/

People have wondered for hundreds of years what to do with those humans that don’t quite fit- the one’s with special needs.  Current brain research shows that people with special needs can learn, and the earlier in life they receive help, the better they do as they grow up.  In fact, researchers now know that a person’s first 3 years of life are the most important time for learning to occur.  Babies with developmental delays can’t wait for intervention, they need it now.  The United States government is in agreement with this.  This is the reason why congress is authorized to fund early intervention programs at 40%.  Congress should act with integrity and fund this program at the amount they say they will.  It’s not only the right decision to make to support babies, it’s the decision that makes the most economical sense.  Spending a little money now means spending less money as the child gets older.