*In order to make the initial DDD/EI referral process easier to understand, I am telling the story of "Sally" a fictionalized 2 year-old, and her family, as they work through the DDD referral process. Sally lives with her mom and dad, and her 6 month old brother. Dad works full time and Mom works part time. Sally and her baby brother stay with a babysitter 2 days each week while Mom works. Sally's parents are concerned because Sally is not saying any words. She is also very easily frustrated and "melts down" several times each day, both at home and at the babysitter's house. Sally does not seem interested in any of her toys, preferring to wave ribbons in front of her face, and line her teddy bears up in rows. When we last peeked in on Sally and her family, they had completed a DDD referral, and had an independent developmental evaluation. The evaluator judged that Sally was at risk for autism, and recommended that she begin early intervention services.
A week or so after the evaluation, Sally's parents receive a call from someone who introduces herself as a DDD support coordinator. The support coordinator tells Sally's parents that she has received the evaluation and would like to set up a meeting to write an IFSP and begin services. Still somewhat in shock, Sally's parents agree to a time for the support coordinator to come to their house.
When the support coordinator arrives, she explains that they will be writing an IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) to determine what Sally's strengths and needs are, and which services would be most beneficial. The support coordinator asks questions about Sally's daily routine, her skills, and the things that worry her parents. She also asks Sally's parents what they would like Sally to be doing in 6 months. Dad responds that he would like Sally to be talking, and not melt down so much. Mom replies that she would like Sally to notice and play with her baby brother. The support coordinator records this, then says that it sounds like Sally would benefit from speech therapy, as well as developmental special instruction (early intervention). She explains that in order for Sally to qualify for speech therapy she must have a specific speech evaluation first. Sally's parents sign a release form so that the support coordinator can share their file with other therapists, and they sign on the dotted lines that the support coordinator points out. The support coordinator gives Sally's parents a list of speech therapists and advises them to start calling and trying to find a therapist who can do a speech evaluation, and hopefully provide ongoing therapy. She shakes hands with Sally's parents, and leaves.
A week or so later, Sally's parents receive a phone call from someone who introduces herself as an early interventionist. She has received Sally's file and wants to begin therapy.
You can find my original post on getting started here, and Part 1 of Sally's story here.