Federal law makes service available for children who have
or at risk of developing disorders or handicaps. Public Law 99-457 (Education
of the Handicapped Act Amendment of 1986) mandates services to all children with handicaps between the ages of three and five. Under this law, Congress also makes funds available for states to provide incentives
for providing service for children, birth to two, at risk for developing handicaps.
Public Law 99-142 was reauthorized in 1997 to the federal law, Individualized Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, PL
105-17) and increased parent involvement in the decision making process and services to the child. Public Law 99-457
requires that all children receiving early intervention services have an Individualized
Family Service Plan (IFSP). The IFSP includes the familys goals and objectives for the child, as well as, the family's strengths
and needs (IdeaPractices.org, 2004). Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) is a federally and state funded program dedicated to providing services
to children between the ages of 0 and 3 with disabilities or delays. ECI provides services and support to families in their
homes in an effort to help children develop and make progress (www.http://www.eci.state.tx.us, 2004).
The federal law expanded the level of parent participation
in the following areas:
are to include information from parents when evaluating the child's cognitive, behavioral, physical and developmental
factors related to ability to progress.
are included in the decision-making progress along with a team of qualified professionals when determining the child's
eligibility. A copy of the final evaluation is to be given to the parents.
The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Team
parents and the IEP team assess if the child has a disability or if the child continues to be qualify as a child
with a disability. The IEP Team, along with the parents, determine the child's present levels of performance and educational
needs and make modifications to the plan accordingly. The team decided if the child continues to need services and may
request additional testing from the Local Education Agency (LEA). They must administer tests and other evaluation
materials requested by the IEP Team.
Parents and the LEA
LEA cannot reevaluate the child without informed consent from the parents. If the LEA tries to contact the parents and no
response is given from the parents, then reevaluation may take place without
parent consent. The LEA does not have to do future assessment on the child f the IEP Team determines no additional evaluations are
needed unless the parent requests it.