IDEA Part C: Service Coordination

What IDEA Part C Regulations Say

§303.34 Service coordination services (case management).

"Service coordination services mean:

(1) Services provided by a service coordinator to assist and enable an infant or toddler with a disability and the child's family to receive the services and rights, including procedural safeguards, required under this part.

(2) Each infant or toddler with a disability and the child's family must be provided with one service coordinator who is responsible for—

i. Coordinating all services required under this part across agency lines; and

ii. Serving as the single point of contact for carrying out the activities this section.

(3) Service coordination is an active, ongoing process that involves—

i. Assisting parents of infants and toddlers with disabilities in gaining access to, and coordinating the provision of, the early intervention services required under this part; and

ii. Coordinating the other services identified in the IFSP...that are needed by, or are being provided to, the infant or toddler with a disability and that child's family."

Specific service coordination services include—

  • Helping infants and families access necessary treatment and supports from qualified providers
  • Making appropriate referrals and scheduling appointments for assessments and services
  • Coordinating early intervention and other services (e.g., educational, social, and medical that are not provided for diagnostic or evaluative purposes)
  • Coordinating evaluations and assessments
  • Being involved in the development, review, and evaluation of the IFSP
  • Conducting referral and other activities to assist families in identifying available providers
  • Coordinating, facilitating, and monitoring the delivery of services in a timely manner
  • Conducting follow-up activities
  • Advising families of their rights and procedural safeguards
  • Coordinating funding sources for required services
  • Facilitating the development of transition plans

Services for infants and toddlers with disabilities are multidisciplinary (§303.24), which means the involvement of two or more separate disciplines with respect to—

(a) Evaluation of the child and assessments of the child and family; and

(b) The IFSP team in §303.340 must include involvement of the parent and two or more individuals from separate disciplines or professions and one of these individuals must be the service coordinator.

§303.344 (g)(1) states "The IFSP must include the name of the service coordinator from the profession most relevant to the child's or family's needs (or who is otherwise qualified to carry out all applicable responsibilities under this part), who will be responsible for implementing the early intervention services identified in a child's IFSP, including transition services, and coordination with other agencies and persons."

Implications for ASHA Members

A service coordinator may be a primary service provider, consulting service provider, or a case manager. A service coordinator who is not qualified to provide other professional services should not be tasked with discipline specific service delivery. The primary service provider should be based on the primary needs of the infant, toddler, and family. Consulting service providers can assist the primary service provider with service delivery. Primary and consulting service providers, independent from the service coordinator, should provide professional services within their realm of expertise. For example, if a child's primary need is in communication, the audiologists or speech-language pathologist (SLP) should serve as the primary service provider. Other professionals may serve in consulting roles. Any of the professionals or a separate case manager may serve as the service coordinator.

Audiologists and SLPs should be mindful of the role that they are being asked to play on a team, and they should agree to only provide services consistent with their scope of practice for evaluation, assessment, and treatment. Audiologists or SLPs may serve as the service coordinator when the child's primary needs are in communication. The individual serving as the service coordinator needs expertise in case management, which is different from the skills required to be a service provider. Therefore, audiologists and SLPs, like other members of the IFSP team, would need additional time and expertise in case management to assume the role of the service coordinator.

What ASHA Members Can Do

Members need to ensure that individuals serving as service coordinators or service providers are delivering service coordination or other services only if they have the skills to do so. ASHA members who assume the role of service coordinator need to advocate to make sure that they are afforded adequate time and training in the activities involved in service coordination (case management).

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