Phone: (800) 755-4769
If your child is age 3 or under and is blind or visually impaired, contact Ohio’s Early Intervention (EI). If eligible, families will be provided the opportunity to work with a service coordinator to develop an Individualized Family Service Program (IFSP). The IFSP is an action plan created by the team to improve a child’s social, emotional, physical, and cognitive development. The IFSP team consists of the family members, a service coordinator, professionals, and agency representatives. The ultimate purpose of this family-oriented process is to ensure that families get what they need so their child can develop as well as possible.
Services and special education are given to those who are eligible under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This is a federal law that is divided into three sections: Part A, B, and C. Part A explains the specifics of the law. Part B addresses services for children between the ages of 3-21 via an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Part C is the section in which services are addressed to children birth to age 3 via an Individualized Family Service Program (IFSP).
Once you have contacted EI, a service provider will evaluate your child to determine your child’s eligibility and service needs. A medical diagnosis from an ophthalmologist will be needed along with the results of other assessments/evaluations.
Keep personal copies of all documentation pertaining to your child. Especially medical, ocular, and EI-related documents. You can keep it in a medical notebook. Around the time your child approaches 2.5 years old, the IFSP team should meet to talk about transition into school services and an IEP, which falls under part B of IDEA, as mentioned above. Ideally, your child will be placed in a preschool program by age three. As mentioned earlier, you can keep these relevant documents in a medical notebook.
Bold Beginning! is a website that has information about available early childhood programs and services for children, families, and communities in Ohio. It also includes a list of developmental milestones. Milestones are skills or abilities that children are typically able to do by a certain age, such as smiling, crawling, and communicating. The way your child learns, plays, and behaves will provide clues about your child’s cognitive, physical, emotional, and social development. Developmental milestones are important, because they can indicate whether or not your child would benefit from early intervention. If your child is having challenges with any of the milestones, consult your child’s pediatrician and consider contacting Early Intervention (see above) for support. EI will assist you with your child’s developmental skills.
WonderBaby.org provides guidance charts for the development of children who are B/VI.