EI Training News, Winter 2011

December 2010, Volume VIII, Issue II

Printable version (pdf)

In This Issue

  1. Spotlight On Success: The Power of TEAMING
  2. Training Program to Launch Online Submission of Credit Requests
  3. Notes from the Ombudsman...
  4. 5th Annual "Empowering Professionals Conference"
  5. Illinois Early Intervention Video Credit
  6. Pointers For Parents...

Spotlight On Success: The Power of TEAMING

Told from two perspectives, the following exemplifies some amazing outcomes achieved when working as a team in early intervention.

Through the eyes of a parent... My daughter, Leah Martinez, was born with profound bilateral hearing loss. It was devastating to know that Leah, my daughter, was deaf. The first thing that came to my mind was how we, Leah and me, were going to communicate if she couldn't hear anything? Many concerns arose the moment I heard the diagnosis- I didn't know what I was going to do. How was she going to be able to express herself, tell us how she was feeling? At that time, I wasn't thinking far into the future, I was thinking about the first few months of life, what her world be like being unable to hear. I was also worried about her overall development - how would her hearing loss effect her other areas of development. Although she had hearing loss, Leah's health was very good and she was very strong visually. I knew this would greatly benefit her since she was deaf.

At 2 months of age, Leah was fitted with her first hearing aids. She was also referred to Early Intervention and services soon began in our home. Leah's first therapist was Elizabeth Johnson, Developmental Therapist/Hearing. She explained Leah's condition to me in detail and in a context that I could better understand what it really meant. I thought that being deaf was not able to communicate effectively with others, but Beth taught me all about deaf children, introduced me to resources so I could understand all about having a deaf child and showed me a wider spectrum about deaf children and all they could do. Unfortunately, her first hearing aids did not help her the way I had hoped; however, after a few weeks of Aural Rehabilitation therapy with Beth, she did respond to sound and she began vocalizing more. This gave me hope that she would do well. After those moments, I never doubted her ability to be successful!

As soon as I understood Leah's condition and her hearing aids, we put words into action and Beth introduced Leah and me to sign language, a great language that allowed Leah and me to communicate as well as allowed her to communicate with her interventionists to some extent. For Leah's condition, she also received Speech Therapy which has given her the opportunity to extend her receptive and expressive language. We accessed a variety of resources through early intervention that helped Leah and me understand her needs and overcome some of the challenges we faced.

Early Intervention really worked for us, Leah and me, because of the relationship I had with my interventionists. I was constantly learning about hearing loss, aural rehabilitation, and how to weave it into our daily lives. Beth would teach me how to teach Leah how to localize for sound, then she would show me how to incorporate that skill into bath time, dinner time, and other times throughout our day. When these ideas were modeled, I began to get a clearer picture of developing listening and language skills. I was also able to come up with my own ideas and activities.

Leah now engages in activities that any 2 year old would do. She is starting to talk in 2 word sentences and loves to have fun! As I think about her transition out of early intervention, I am hopeful that her new preschool will meet her needs. My advice to other families in early intervention is to be positive, always believe your child can improve, have high expectations for both, yourself and your entire team!

Through the Eyes of a DT/H… My name is Beth Johnson and I am a Developmental Therapist/Hearing Specialist. I have worked in Early Intervention for two years, and previously worked as a teacher in a self-contained deaf and hard of hearing classroom for a Cooperative. In Early Intervention, the very first family I worked with was Sinai and her daughter, Leah. When I first met Leah, she was a tiny, 3 month old baby girl with a severe-profound hearing loss. That was more than 20 months ago - my how life has changed!

Leah went from no hearing aids to bilateral hearing aids, to one cochlear implant to currently being sequentially implanted with two cochlear implants. Who made this happen? Who had the drive to see their child receive the best amplification technology had to offer? Her mother, Sinai Ortega.

Sinai is a thoughtful, driven young woman who always puts her children first. Her role in early Intervention as Leah's first teacher, educator, and mother is seen on a daily basis. She has educated herself about deafness, language development, and aural rehabilitation by taking online courses offered by the well known John Tracy Clinic in California and has read everything she can to understand deafness. She implemented any and all intervention strategies we introduced into Leah's daily life. She has given Leah every opportunity to succeed and she has succeeded!

At 24 months, Leah is speaking in 2 word phrases, communicating her wants and needs and continues exceeding all expectations every time we meet. The power of a family, in this story, a Mother, is truly amazing. Sinai makes things happen. Without her, my intervention would not be as successful. Without her, my job wouldn't be as rewarding. Without her, this intervention model would not be complete. This works and when it does…amazing things happen!

Training Program to Launch Online Submission of Credit Requests

Since the Training Program was awarded the responsibilities of reviewing and approving other training opportunities for Illinois early intervention credential credit, it has processed nearly 19,000 of your EI activity credit requests. That's a lot of paper and a lot of paperwork!

The processes involved in receiving, reviewing, and notifying you of the status of your requests has evolved over the years and continues to do so as the Training Program strives to be more efficient while maintaining the integrity of the process as a whole. In keeping with such, the Training Program will be offering online submission of EI activity credit requests through its website, www.illinoiseitraining.org.

Advantages to submitting your credit requests online include:

  • Auto e-mail confirmations to document that your request was submitted and received. 
  • E-mail notifications when credit request is approved, denied, or when additional information is needed to process your request.
  • A reduced risk that your credit request is not received or not received in entirety.
  • A more efficient process for the Training Program to review and process your credit requests.
  • Reducing the amount of paper processed is a more responsible use of EI Training Program resources as well as global resources.

The Training Program is currently making the necessary modifications to its website to allow for your online credit request submissions. The changes are expected to be completed, tested, and launched in January of 2011. EI Activity Credit Requests will still be accepted via fax, to 708-444-8470 or by mail to the EI Training Program at 7550 West 183rd Street in Tinley Park, IL 60477; however, it is strongly encouraged that you use the online submission process when it becomes available.

All EI Training Activity Credit Request forms have been modified and are posted on the website under the 'Credit Request Forms' link near the bottom of the Home page. You will note that these forms are very specific as to the information required for processing. Your request will not be processed without these updated forms and the requested information. Requests received with outdated forms will be returned to the sender.

The Training Program will continue to process credit requests on a 30 business day timeline. Please note that this timeline can extend anywhere from 4 - 7 calendar weeks, depending on the time of year and the holidays that fall within those 30 business days. All requests are processed as quickly as possible; however, the volume of requests in process at any given time effects the turnaround time. Please plan accordingly.

Notes from the Ombudsman...

By Chelsea Guillen

As I continue my work with system stakeholders, questions about documentation continue to surface. Since part of my role as ombudsman is to improve adherence to program principles and practices, I thought this to be a good time to share some resources that provide guidance about system expectations for documentation. As you know, documentation is the primary way service coordinators and providers track their activities and children's progress. Documentation provides an ongoing record of what occurs during a child's involvement in the early intervention system. It is one of the primary sources used by the Early Intervention Monitoring Program to determine compliance with system rules and regulations.

The System has several resources that can assist individuals with their understanding of system expectations. Many of these billing and documentation resources can be accessed on the EI Training website, www.illinoiseitraining.org, in the 'Resources' section. A primary source of information is the Provider Handbook, found on the Provider Connections website (http://www.wiu.edu/ProviderConnections/pdf/ServiceDescriptionManual09-10.pdf). Page 39 of this document includes a definition of "Documentation". This information details the kinds of documentation necessary and what each element needs to include. Another source, particularly helpful for service coordinators, is the "Recordkeeping" section of the Child and Family Connections Procedure Manual. This document can be accessed via the "Manuals" section of DHS' Early Intervention website: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=32263.

The Provider Handbook also provides system guidance about documentation requirements for reports (see link above). Additional support for greater understanding of this is provided during Systems Overview training. If you want to review that information, you can find the online modules at: http://illinoiseitraining.org/uploads/EI%20SYSTEM%20MODULES.htm. A variety of other Training Program sessions can provide additional information. Visit the EI Training Program's website to find trainings in your area.

The format a provider or service coordinator uses for their daily documentation may vary based on their discipline, their preferences, and their practice's requirements. For instance, providers may receive training on acceptable documentation practices while in school. Many of these approaches are acceptable within early intervention as well. The format of a service coordinator's notes will likely be determined by their CFC to ensure consistency and accuracy. Some key things to remember, regardless of your role, are listed below.

  • All services (including IFSP development time) provided to a child and family must be documented. If supporting documentation for a paid service is missing, a refund may be required.
  • Each service provided is to be documented using a comprehensive overview of what occurred. Summaries across multiple dates, duplication of identical notes for each visit, and checklists are not acceptable forms of documentation.
  • Documentation must be legible and understandable to the writer, families, and any other system entity that may need to review the information.
  • Multiple providers are not allowed to use a single note for all services. Each provider must summarize their particular service.
  • All documentation must be kept confidential. Documents cannot be released without proper authorization.

While this is certainly not an exhaustive list of potential resources about documentation, following this guidance should keep you on track.

5th Annual "Empowering Professionals Conference"

Navigating the Journey to Effective Practice

Pre-registration is required for this one-day conference featuring keynote, Rosemarie Allen, PhD. Dr. Allen has devoted her 30+ year-career to early childhood care and education. During her keynote presentation, Dr. Allen will lead participants on an amazing journey towards cultural competence with step-by-step instructions for skill development. This interactive, cross-disciplinary workshop challenges participants to recognize biases, which surface in unpredictable ways, and see the world through a different lens.

Afternoon Breakout Sessions; Vendor Expo; Continental Breakfast and Lunch

Save the Date: Friday, March 4, 2011

8:30 am - 4:00 pm

Prairie State College - Business & Community Education Center

202 S Halsted Street ~ Chicago Heights, IL 60411

For additional information and to register, please visit www.illinoiseitraining.org,

Or call, toll free, 866-509-3867, ext 253 OR 258

$55.00 Early Bird Registration thru February 12th

$65.00 Regular Registration February 13th

Illinois Early Intervention Video Credit

Looking for an hour or two of early intervention credit? Consider watching an approved video. To help early intervention credentialed providers just falling short of their required continuing ed. requirement, the IL Bureau of Early Intervention agreed to allow Provider Connections to accept video credit, approved by EI Training Program. The Training Program, in collaboration with the Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse, has put together a lending library of videos/dvds available for viewing. To watch a video for EI credit you must:

  1. Request a video(s) from the EI Clearinghouse. Go to www.eiclearinghouse.org, for the list of approved videos for EI credential credit. Check their online catalog for the availability of these videos. Videos can then be ordered from the Clearinghouse by e-mail: Illinois-eic@illinois.edu, phone: 877-275-3227 or by fax: 217-244-7732. You may also visit the library in person at the University of IL at Urbana-Champaign. Videos/dvds may be borrowed for two weeks and are not renewable. You may borrow up to four videos at a time. Videos will be shipped to you with options for returning the materials.
  2. Watch the video. At your convenience and in the comfort of your home or office, watch the video/dvd. Take notes.
  3. Submit your request for video credit. Complete the 'Video Credit Request' form found on the EI Training Pro gram's website, www.illinoiseitraining.org. Be sure to complete the form in it's entirety, using your notes to answer the reflective questions. Submit your completed form to the EI Training Program by fax: 708-444-8470 or by mail to: The IL Early Intervention Training Program 7550 West 183rd St., Tinley Park, IL 60477. Your request will be reviewed for approval within 30 business days or 4-6 weeks. If approved, you will receive a Certificate of Completion from the EI Training Program. The EI Training Program does not automatically forward your video credit to Provider Connections. It is your responsibility to send your certificates to Provider Connections to count towards your early intervention credential.
  4. Return videos to the EI Clearinghouse according to instructions.

Note that the list of videos for EI credit is monitored and continually updated. Only those videos listed at the time the EI Training Program receives your request will be considered for credit. Providers may use up to 5 contact hours of video credit for each 30 hours of credit needed towards their Illinois early intervention credential.

Pointers For Parents...

Charting Your Child's Development from 9 to 12 Months

The following chart describes many of the things a baby is learning between birth and two months and what a parent can do to support their child in all areas of development. This is one of a series of handouts made available from ZERO TO THREE, the nation's leading resource on the first three years of life, and the American Academy of Pediatrics. For more information on this and other family and provider resources, go to: www.zerotothree.org or www.aap.org.


What's going on: What you can do: Questions to ask yourself:
Babies this age are very good at expressing their feelings with their gestures, sounds and facial expressions. They can engage in "conversation," for example, handing things back and for the to you, imitating each other's sounds and actions. They also understand "cause and effect" - that they can make something happen: "If I cry, Mom will come."
  • Help your baby handle her feelings. Comfort her when she cries,  acknowledge when she's frustrated and help her calm down and try again. This helps your child manage her very strong feelings and develop self control.
  • Engage in "circles" of communication with your baby. Keep it going as long as she's engaged. If she reaches for a book, ask, "Do you want that book?" Wait until she responds and then hand it to her. See what she does with it and join her without taking over. These "Conversations" help boost her overall development-social, emotional, language, intellectual and even motor.
  • How would you describe your baby's personality? In what ways are you and your baby alike and different?
  • How does your baby let you know what she wants; what she's thinking and feeling?
Thanks to their new memory skills, babies this age know that when you leave, you still exist. This is a very important skill, but also can lead to difficulty when leaving. This is why babies often protest at bedtime and cry out for you in the middle of the night. They try to get you to come back by gesturing, crying and calling out.
  • Play hide-and-seek games like peek-a-boo. Disappearing and reappearing games like this help your baby learn to cope with separation and feel secure that you always come back.
  • Be positive when leaving her. Go to her at night to reassure her you are still there but don't pick her up and rock her back to sleep. Falling asleep is your arms makes it more difficult for her to soothe herself back to sleep if she wakes up again at night. When saying "goodbye," tell her you will miss her, but that you will return. Make sure she has something that gives her comfort, like her 'blankie' or a favorite toy.
  • How does your baby handle it when you leave? What helps make it easier?
  • What's hardest for you about being away from your child? Being aware of your own feelings is very important.
Babies this age do things over and over again because that's the way they figure out how things work and doing things repeatedly builds their self-confidence. It also strengthens the connections in their brains. Their ability to move in new ways (crawl, stand, even walk) makes it easier to explore and helps them make new discoveries, such as finding their favorite book under the chair.
  • Be your child's learning partner and coach. Observe her closely to see what she can do, then help her take the next step. For example, encourage her to put one more block on her tower or to try and fit the cube into a different hole.
  • Follow your child's lead. The more she directs the play, the more invested she is and the more she will learn.
  • What are your baby's favorite activities? What does this tell you about her?
  • What does your baby do well? What does she find challenging? How can you be a partner in helping her face these challenges?