EI Training News, Fall 2009

October 2009, Volume VIII, Issue I

Printable version (pdf)

In This Issue

  1. Spotlight on Success: The Illinois EI Clearinghouse
  2. The EI Training Program Shifts Its Focus for 2009-2010
  3. Seven Key Principles: Looks Like / Doesn't Look Like
  4. Central Billing Office Offers FREE Billing Services
  5. Revisions to the EI Provider Handbook Effective September 1
  6. Pointers For Parents...Healthy Eating Tips for Infants and Toddlers
  7. EI Resources

Spotlight on Success: The Illinois EI Clearinghouse

The Training Program has featured the successes of specific children and families, providers, groups of providers, and service teams. Each story shared is one of many that touch hearts, hit close to home, and inspire many in the fields of early intervention.

Another group of unsung heroes, perhaps often overlooked, perhaps, as they are not traditionally thought of 'human' in the human services fields nor as the impetus for success, are the agencies and entities that endorse, support and promote early intervention.

The EI Training Program is pleased to welcome and introduce the newest lead agency to be part of Illinois DHS's Bureau of Early Intervention and is excited about its mission to support families and providers in Illinois Early Intervention…

The Illinois Early Intervention (EI) Clearinghouse is moving to the Early Childhood and Parenting Collaborative at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services, the EI Clearinghouse identifies, collects, and disseminates research-based and best-practice early intervention information (books, documents, online resources, and videos) for parents, practitioners, and early intervention professionals in the state of Illinois.

The EI Clearinghouse will use state-of-the-art technology to share information, as well as traditional formats including printed, easy-to-read newsletters and short resource lists of new materials. Library materials will be delivered to parents and professionals by mail and through the statewide library delivery system. The range of products produced by the EI Clearinghouse-from easy-to-read print newsletters and resource lists (in Spanish and English), to access to Podcasts and RSS feeds-will ensure that the EI Clearinghouse can respond to information requests from parents and professionals regardless of the technology available to them.

Principal Investigator and Project Director for the EI Clearinghouse is Dr. Susan Fowler, a nationally recognized scholar in the field of early intervention. Other distinguished faculty will serve on the staff of the EI Clearinghouse and on its Advisory Committee, including Dr. Tweety Yates, Dr. Jeanette McCollum, Dr. Lilian Katz, Dr. Rosa Milagros Santos, Dr. Michaelene Ostrosky, and Dr. Mary-alayne Hughes. The participation of these scholars and content experts, many of whom are well known to the Illinois early intervention community, will assure that the EI Clearinghouse library collection and database are of the highest possible quality and responsive to the needs of Illinois families in the Early Intervention Program.

The Early Childhood and Parenting Collaborative (ECAP), within the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, is well respected both nationally and in the state for its understanding of early intervention and its impact on families. Uniquely qualified to assume the management and expansion of the EI Clearinghouse, ECAP is affiliated with the Lincoln Trail Libraries System and has won awards for providing information services to parents and families, as well as early childhood professionals, in similar projects. ECAP has developed and maintained more than two dozen Web sites in the topical areas of early childhood and parenting since the early 1990s and has demonstrated its expertise in outreach to the state's early childhood community, including parents and families, through other state-funded projects, most notably the Illinois Early Learning Project (http://illinoisearlylearning.org).

The EI Clearinghouse will be housed at the Children's Research Center in Champaign at the south end of the University of Illinois campus in an area with ample parking. ECAP will work to minimize any interruptions of service, and the EI Clearinghouse is expected to be fully operational by October 1, 2009. For more information on the transition, please visit http://eic.crc.uiuc.edu/.

The Training Program encourages you to submit your success story. No matter how big, little, or anything in between your achievements might seem, they DO make a difference and we would like to share them. Submit your story to the Illinois Early Intervention Training Program:

E-mail to: tburke@illinoiseitraining or lgimble@illinoiseitraining

Fax to: (708) 444-8470

Mail to: 7550 W 183rd St ~ Tinley Park, IL 60477

The EI Training Program Shifts Its Focus for 2009-2010

Based on data collected from survey responses, training needs feedback from training participants, CFC Managers' requests, and DHS directives, the EI Training Program has developed three linked series of trainings that builds upon participants' knowledge over time. These linked training series of workshops allow for groups of attendees to network and create communities of practice that can continue to support learning and growth beyond the workshops themselves.

Because all who work in Illinois Early Intervention work on teams that need to be grounded in key principles and practices that support Illinois' service delivery to children and families, each training series begins with two foundational training workshops key to the strength of the learning strands. "Teaming In Early Intervention-We, Not Me" and "Key Principles in Early Intervention-What Does It Look Like? How Do I Do It?" are offered several times, across the State, before the three series of workshops focusing on the three core content areas of learning, assessment, typical child development, and working with families are launched in November of this program year.

After providers have completed the two foundational training workshops and are grounded in the key principles and the challenges and opportunities presented when working on teams, they can continue through one or more of the three learning series:

  • The Assessment Series of workshops will help professionals understand the key principles and best practices for assessment of very young children and their families. What is assessment why do we do it, how do we make assessment meaningful and use it to build intervention strategies and supports that help children and families in their daily routines and activities? What is global assessment and how does it help us understand a child's unique skills, abilities, and strengths so that IFSPs can be developed that are truly individualized and meaningful? These questions and more will be addressed in the workshops that comprise the assessment series.
  • The Typical Child Development Series of workshops are comprised of three Infant Toddler Modules developed by the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (CSEFEL) which is focused on promoting the social emotional development and school readiness of young children, birth to five. The workshops in this series will help professionals identify the key developmental concepts that impact the social and emotional development of infants and toddlers. This series also identifies characteristics of challenging behaviors, acting out, and social withdrawal in infants and toddlers and presents steps to work with parents on implementing strategies to address concerns. 
  • The Working With Families Series helps professionals gather information, resources, and strategies to incorporate into their work of supporting families within their everyday natural learning environments. How do we help families make the most of their time between our visits? How do we support their knowledge, competence, and confidence to incorporate strategies and suggestions as they go about their daily business of being a family? This learning series also will also assist providers in developing and implementing intervention plans that are meaningful and impact the lives of children and families in our system.

The foundational training workshops will be presented intermittently across the state throughout the program year and each training series is scheduled in the Northern, Central, Peoria, Southeastern, and Southwestern regions of the State. Check the EI Training Program's website, www.illinoiseitraining.org for current training opportunities.

While other training opportunities will be added to the EI Training Calendar throughout the program year, these series of trainings allow for professionals working in the Illinois Early Intervention System to plan for and participate in ongoing training, team building, and support to enhance/improve their work with children and families.

Seven Key Principles: Looks Like / Doesn't Look Like

The fourth of seven excerpts, this document, developed by the Workgroup on Principles and Practices in Natural Environments (February, 2008) elaborates on seven key principles identified by work group members listing the concepts underlying the brief statements. Each principle also has descriptive statements illustrating what the principle should "look like" in practice. There are also descriptions of what it "doesn't look like" because often those practices are still being used. While the work group offered much input, no attempt was made to reach consensus. The statements are simple examples and many others could be added. This document may be particularly useful as training material.

4. The early intervention process, from initial contacts through transition, must be dynamic and individualized to reflect the child's and family members' preferences, learning styles and cultural beliefs.

Key Concepts:

  • Families are active participants in all aspects of services
  • Families are the ultimate decision makers in the amount, type of assistance and the support they receive
  • Child and family needs, interests, and skills changes; the IFSP must be fluid, and revised accordingly
  • The adults in a child's life each have their own preferred learning styles; interactions must be sensitive and responsive to individuals
  • Each family's culture, spiritual beliefs and activities, values and traditions will be different from the service provider's (even if from a seemingly similar culture); service providers should seek to understand, not judge
  • Family "ways" are more important than provider comfort and beliefs (short of abuse/neglect)
This Principle DOES look like this This principle DOES NOT look like this
Evaluation/assessments address each family's initial priorities, and accommodate reasonable preferences for time, place and the role the family will play Providing the same "one size fits all" evaluation and assessment process for each family/child regardless of the initial concerns
Preparing the family to participate in the IFSP meeting, reinforcing their role as a team member who participates in choosing and developing the outcomes, strategies, activities and services and supports Directing the IFSP process in a rote professional-driven manner and presenting the family with prescribed outcomes and a list of available services
Collaboratively tailoring services to fit each family; providing services and supports in flexible ways that are responsive to each family's cultural, ethnic, racial, language, socioeconomic  characteristics and preferences Expecting families to "fit" the services; giving families a list of available services to choose from and providing these services and supports in the same manner for every family
Collaboratively deciding and adjust the frequency and intensity of services and supports that will best meet the needs of the child and family Providing all the services, frequency and activities the family says they want on the IFSP
Treating each family member as a unique adult learner with valuable insights, interests, and skills Treating the family as having one learning style that does not change
Acknowledging that the IFSP can be changed as often as needed to reflect the changing needs, priorities and lifestyle of the child and family Expecting the IFSP document outcomes, strategies and services not to change for a year
Recognizing one's own culturally and professionally driven childrearing values, beliefs, and practices; seeking to understand, rather than judge, families with differing values and practices Acting solely on one's personally held childbearing beliefs and values and not fully acknowledging the importance of families' cultural perspectives
Learning about and valuing the many expectation, commitments, recreational activities and pressures in a family's life; using IFSP practices that enhance the families' abilities to do what they need to do and want to do for all family members Assuming that the eligible child is receiving all possible services is and should be the major focus of a family's life

*Seven Key Principles: Looks like/Doesn't look like, can be found in its entirety at http://www.nectac.org/topics/families/families.asp.

Central Billing Office Offers FREE Billing Services

Illinois Early Intervention provides free Insurance Billing Services for providers participating in its program. This service offered for new client referrals only, is specifically designed to bill primary insurance companies on behalf of the provider at no cost to the provider.

  • Providers will register one time with the Early Intervention Central Billing Office (CBO) Insurance Billing Unit and will submit enrollment and encounter forms for children they wish to obtain billing services for.
  • The purpose of the encounter form is to provide treating documentation that will allow CBO staff to correctly code insurance claims using treating level ICD-9 and CPT/HCPCS codes.
  • The CBO will bill the primary insurance company on behalf of the provide and the provider will receive the insurance payment directly for all claims.
  • It is important for providers to understand that the insurance company will send the insurance Explanation Of Benefits (EOB) or other correspondence directly to the provider. Therefore, if the insurance company denies the claim or does not pay up to the state rate, it will be the responsibility of the provider to submit the EOB or other documentation received to the CBO Insurance Billing Unit within 90 days from the date on the EOB or other documentation received from the insurance company in order to receive payment from the CBO.
  • Visit the CBO website at http://www.eicbo.info/ to register to become a user of the free insurance billing services offered.

Revisions to the EI Provider Handbook Effective September 1

On August 28th the Illinois Early Intervention Training Program hosted a statewide webinar on the Illinois Early Intervention Service Descriptions, Billing Codes & Rates Provider Handbook. The purpose of the webinar was to reacquaint providers with existing Illinois Early Intervention principles, policies, and definitions as well as inform early intervention professionals of the revisions that became effective September 1, 2009. It is estimated that over 800 providers logged in to the webinar, either individually or in groups.

Providers were encouraged to submit their questions about the Handbook revisions to the Training Program over designated period of time. Using participant feedback and questions, a Frequently Asked Questions document has been developed. Currently under review by the DHS Bureau of Early Intervention, the document will be made available through the Illinois EI Training Program's website,  www.illinoiseitraining.org, once approved by DHS.

Those providers unable to participate during the live webinar feed or those who did and would like to review, the webinar has been taped and is now available as a resource through a link on the Home Page of the Training Program's website.

Pointers For Parents...Healthy Eating Tips for Infants and Toddlers

Reprinted from ZERO TO THREE. To learn more and for additional resources to share with families, check out ZERO TO THREE online at: www.zerotothree.org

Feeding is one of a parent's most important jobs. It helps children grow healthy and strong. But meal and snack times also give parents a change to help their children feel important and loved; understood and respected; and learn to trust that others will care for them. Here are some tips about how to nurture a child's overall healthy development through feeding from the experts at ZERO TO THREE, a nonprofit child development organization:

Remember: Meals are about more than food - They are a time to connect with your child. Talk with him and don't let him eat alone.

Create routines around mealtime - Routines help children feel loves and secure. You might say a blessing or share something about your day before each meal.

Establish regular meal and snack times beginning when your child is 9 to 12 months old - This helps children learn to link their feelings of hunger with eating at regular times across the day.

Offer three to four healthy food choices among those your child likes, at each meal - Research shows that children will choose a healthy diet when they are offered a selection of healthy foods.

Don't force your baby or toddler to eat - This often results in children refusing food and eating less.

Offer your child a healthy snack between meals if you think he is hungry - If he doesn't eat much at a meal, he doesn't have to wait long to eat again.

Limit juice to no more than four to six ounces a day - Juice has lots of sugar. Add water to the juice or offer fresh fruit instead.

Be flexible about letting little ones get up from the table when they are done - Babies and toddlers can't sit for long. Plan for three meals a day of about 10-20 minutes and two to three snacks of about 5 to 15 minutes.

Don't give up on new foods - You may have to offer your child a new food 10 to 15 times before he will eat it. Encourage your child to touch the new food, lick and taste it. Let him see you eat it.

Turn off the TV (computers, etc) at mealtime - The television can distract children from eating and takes time away from talking as a family.

If you are concerned about your child's weight or activity level, talk to your child's health care provider. To order copies of the full booklet, "Healthy From The Start" and for more information on feeding and other parenting topics, visit www.zerotothree.org.

EI Resources

Illinois Department of Human Services Bureau of Early Intervention

Provider Connections

Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse

Hearing and Vision Connections

Early Intervention Monitoring Program

Early Intervention Central Billing Office