Transition to Preschool

An important part of early intervention services is assisting children and families to make the move from the early intervention program as smooth as possible.  This process is called transition.  When a child is approximately 2.5 years old, a transition information meeting will be held with the parents, service coordinator, and others who have worked with the child and family to begin planning for services and supports that might be needed when the child turns three.  As in other meetings about a child’s needs and progress, it is essential that parents are part of the planning.  As a child approaches three years of age, the service coordinator will help with transition from early intervention to a preschool program which may be provided by their local schooldistrict, and/or other service providers, based on the child’s needs.The New Jersey Early Intervention System has produced an informative resource entitled “Service Guidelines for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.”  Contact your county Special Child Health office or COSAC for a copy. back to top Families will receive evaluation, assessment, service coordination and the development of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) at no charge.  Developmental services (OT, PT, Speech and language, special instruction, etc.), are assessed a fee beginning with the first hour of service. The Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) has set up a Family Cost-Share formula to determine each family’s ability to contribute toward early intervention services.  The Family Cost-Share is based on a scale that begins at 350% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) and goes up with each 100% rise above the FPL.  Based on that formula, each family will then be assessed a fee for services each month regardless of the number of hours of service received.  Families will pay either the family cost share figure or the actual cost of services, whichever is less. Families can reduce their income level (for calculation purposes) by deducting certain extraordinary expenses resulting in an Adjusted Gross Income.  Extraordinary expenses are defined as “an average monthly or yearly unreimbursed (“out of pocket”) expense that is related specifically to the eligible child’s disability or an immediate family member with a disability or long term health issue.  Deductions might include specific purchases, expenses, modifications, and alterations that family members have made within the previous month or year to accommodate the extended/additional needs of the eligible child or family member.  Extenuating circumstances may include unexpected events that affect the family’s financial situation.” “Extraordinary expenses cannot include out of pocket expenses for anticipated services or any expenses for which other funding sources have been requested to assist in paying for the same products and services.  Extraordinary or extenuating circumstances must be supported by written documentation.” Families may complete and submit to the Department of Health and Senior Services – Early Intervention System an application for Income Adjustment for consideration of the expenses listed as follows:  medical expenses, insurance deductibles and co-payments, child care, and accommodation expenses (equipment). Note:  The family pays either the Cost Share as it has been calculated, or the actual cost of the service, whichever is less. COSAC’s informative booklet, “Introduction to Autism Services:  A New Jersey Guide” offers family cost share calculations and formulas to assist families in determining their cost share expenses.  To order a free copy today, click here back to top The service coordinator should fully understand the child’s and families’ needs.  For example, if the family feels that the child will only progress with the help of ABA therapy, that service should be stressed even if the service coordinator says that it is not available in the area. If a family cannot come to an agreement with the service coordinator about the child’s services, or feels that your child’s service coordinator is not providing the services in the IFSP, recourse is available. A Complaint can be filed with the Early Intervention office in the Department of Health and Senior Services.  A complaint must be made in writing and include any issues or concerns the family has regarding all parties involved.  A staff member at the Early Intervention office will determine from the complaint whether or not any law has been broken and may conduct an on-site investigation into the allegations.  A final resolution to the complaint must be available within 60 days of the Early Intervention office’s receipt of the complaint.  Complaints can be made to: Mr. Nashon Hornsby, Esq. Director, Procedural Safeguards PO Box 364 Trenton, NJ 08625 Phone: (609) 777-7734 Fax: (609) 292-0296 Mediation is an informal process used to reach a resolution for a particular problem.  An unbiased mediator will assist families and the professionals they are working with in coming to an agreement about the services needed for their child.  Mediation must be resolved within 30 days of the receipt of the request. Due Process is a more formal approach to resolving disputes.  In order to file for due process, the complainant must be in dispute over their child’s identification, evaluation and assessment, eligibility determination, and/or early intervention services or settings.  During a due process hearing, an administrative law judge considers both sides of a dispute and renders a written decision based on the law within 30 days of the receipt of the request for a hearing. The above procedural safeguards that guarantee early intervention services are provided in a voluntary, nondiscriminatory manner. They assure that families understand the early intervention system and what is being offered to them and their child. The above procedural safeguards that guarantee early intervention services are provided in a voluntary, nondiscriminatory manner. They assure that families understand the early intervention system and what is being offered to them and their child. back to top What is the Division of Developmental Disabilities and is My Child too young to receive services?   While the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) is the source of services for adults, they can also provide services to children with developmental disabilities.  Primarily, DDD can provide case management, family support, residential and respite services to families of children with autism.  Click here for contact information for the DDD Regional Office that services your area. back to top If you have questions or concerns regarding Early Intervention services, please contact COSAC at 1-800-4-AUTISM (toll free in NJ) or (609) 883-8100 to speak with an Advocacy and Information specialist.  You can also visit the State of New Jersey’s Early Intervention website.