Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Service Coordinators as Evaluators

I need some insight and thought you can help. We are facing some challenges at the Early Intervention System in XXXX because of service provider shortages. We never seem to have enough service providers … We’ve been brainstorming alternatives because the way our system was conceptualized is that our service providers use some of their time to do initial child assessments before the IFSP meeting and I would prefer that they use their time to provide services!!!!

We have a group of Service Coordinators that have different educational backgrounds (ex., Social Workers, Pschology, Counseling, etc.) All of them have a Bachelor Degree and most have been working for the EI System for an average of 3 yrs. and it is my perception that they have the skills to carry out child assessments. Would it be appropriate to train Service Coordinators so that they can do the initial Curriculum Based Assessment? We use the HELP (Hawaii Early Learning Profile). I checked the Regulations and they basically talk about state licenses and certifications regarding providing services but I’m not sure if it also applies to the assessment process?????

Are your service coordinators just service coordinators, not providers? If so, by and large, they are not necessarily trained early interventionists; most importantly, sometimes they are not trained in child development or disabilities (see McWilliam, 2006). On the other hand, neither was I when I was doing child assessments as a home visitor. And the HELP does not require any kind of licensure. So my conclusion is that, if the service coordinator knows child development and disabilities, he or she can do the evaluation. You are talking about evaluation for eligibility, aren’t you? If so, remember they are just trying to answer the question in or out? If your state allows the HELP, then they’re not that particular about the exactitude of the evaluation, since the HELP isn’t norm referenced. So that’s another argument for allowing the SCs to do the evals, if they’re knowledgeable. The Part C regs do not prevent service coordinators or anyone else from doing the evals.

McWilliam, R. A. (2006). What happened to service coordination? Journal of Early Intervention, 28, 166-168.


Sonia Pina said...

I think that is very important to ask the group of the service coordinators how they feel about assessing children at these age. Ask if they have the patients, motivation, and desire to do so? because at this age you have to be creative and enthusiastic to motivate some students and get them to participate.

Joan said...

Although one would love to have the service coordinator’s assessment time as a time to provide services for the child, I would have to state that having an assessment conducted only strengthens the future outcomes and goals of one’s child. With an assessment of all the developmental areas and the family members’ and service providers’ input, the child and family will have the best attainable, family-driven IFSP/IEP. Also, as far as I know from my company and the schools that I have visited, training for conducting an assessment is usually provided, which is excellent. Assessments are usually observation-based or interview-based, which are very important for the child and the family to let the service coordinator and provider(s) know what the family’s purposes and goals are for the family and child. In addition, service coordinators are analogous to a mediator among family members, friends, relatives, and service providers. The service providers are some of the following people: the occupational therapist, speech therapist, physical therapist, and early interventionist.

nancd said...

So in this situation, it is ok to have someone do an eval to determine in/out even if they don't have a degree because the HELP doesn't require licensure but in your response about natural environments you don't feel a board certified, licensed and supervised provider is qualified to work with children and families.....wow that is confusing

morgan said...

These articles are enlightening and casue me concern because I have also been asked to create initial IEPs for children entering my school that appear to have special needs. I am not sure that I have the qualifications to make such documents which stay with children for the rest of their lives.

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Ernest Lint said...

Would you consider the Routines Based Interview alone a Multi Disciplinary Assessment ?