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COVID-19: ASHA Web Event Series on Service Delivery Considerations in Early Intervention

As so many of our day-to-day activities changed seemingly overnight in response to COVID-19, early intervention (EI) providers have found themselves facing new professional challenges. ASHA has heard many complex, wide-ranging questions and concerns regarding service delivery for infants, toddlers, and their families during this time. ASHA developed a series of recorded web chats to address the specific needs of those who operate or work in Part C EI programs or other EI practices.

Topic Focus: The Big Picture

Panelists:

  • Erin Wladyka, MS, CCC-SLP, Early Intervention Manager, Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities
  • Lindsay Miketa, MS CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities 
  • Moderator: Adena Dacy, MS, CCC-SLP,  Associate Director, Clinical Issues in Speech-Language Pathology at ASHA

Questions Addressed: 

  • Where can SLPs find information about state Part C programs and local EI systems to know what they can and cannot do during this pandemic?
  • How do I find out how my state views telepractice, including the forms of telepractice (e.g., audio and/or videoconferencing technology, telephone)? What are the typical timelines that must be met?
  • During this time of altered service delivery when interactions may be far from standard or ideal, what kinds of consents and documentation are required or being emphasized in your state?
  • How is your EI system handling required meetings, such as IFSP meetings?
  • Do IFSPs need to be revised to reflect changes in service delivery that occur during the COVID-19 public health emergency or for now, can modifications and communications be noted in the child’s contact notes or EI record? Will IFSPs and the need for make-up sessions be reviewed and services adjusted as necessary once pandemic-related services are no longer needed?
  • What about transition planning procedures? How are these occurring, especially given the many public-school closures? Can EI services be extended to children receiving services past age 3?

Resources

Topic Focus: Telepractice Evaluation and Assessment

Panelists:

  • Arlene Stredler Brown, PhD, CCC-SLP, Coordinator, Colorado EHDI Alliance; Clinical Faculty; Speech, Language Hearing Center, University of Colorado; Adjunct Faculty, University of British Columbia
  • Laura Merrill, Evaluation Manager, Early Intervention Colorado
  • Beth Cole, EdD, Provider Relations Manager, Early Intervention Colorado
  • Moderator: Adena Dacy, MS, CCC-SLP,  Associate Director, Clinical Issues in Speech-Language Pathology at ASHA

Questions Addressed:

  • What tools for assessment/evaluation can I use and initial assessments changed? Have there been components of the evaluation and assessment procedures that are now waived or revised, such as requirements for using norm-referenced or criterion-referenced tools?
  • What are some suggestions for making adaptations for assessment via telepractice as needed?
  • What about the weight of gathering functional information by using materials available in the child's natural environment and by using parent report, which can give providers an idea of how the child is using functional skills in everyday routines?
  • How has documentation or report writing changed in light of current events? What kind of information do you want to see in assessment narratives?
  • What can you share about training, preparation, lessons learned, greatest challenges?

Resources

Topic Focus: Empowering Families and Professionals

Panelists:

  • Brooke Lambert, MEd, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, First Words Inc./Infant & Toddler Connection of the Blue Ridge; Certified by the American Telemedicine Association
  • Molly Wallace, MA, CCC-SLP, Speech-Language Pathologist, Pronto Therapy Group/Infant & Toddler Connection of Virginia; Certified by the American Telemedicine Association
  • Dana Childress, PhD, Early Intervention Professional Development Consultant, Partnership for People with Disabilities
  • Moderator: Adena Dacy, MS, CCC-SLP, Associate Director, Clinical Issues in Speech-Language Pathology at ASHA

Questions Addressed:

  • How can providers address the feasibility & appropriateness of telepractice for each family, and for themselves?
  • How do you prepare families for virtual assessment and intervention? What about preparing service providers?
  • How can providers use telepractice to conduct functional authentic assessments to gather information about the child’s skills within their natural environment and daily routines?
  • What are strategies to implement coaching successfully in the telepractice environment?
  • How has billing and coding your EI services changed? Are you being reimbursed for coaching?
  • How are you communicating with families and IFSP teams before, during, in-between visits
  • What do we do in situations where telepractice is not an option, or the family would prefer an alternative other than virtual visits? What creative solutions have worked for you?

Resources

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