Differences Between Part B and Part C Services

The Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) ends when a child turns 3. Transitioning to a services under an Individualized Education Program (IEP) requires a new evaluation and is a team-led process. Let this handout serve as your cheat sheet for the differences between the IFSP and IEP.

Individualized Family Service Plan
Individualized Education Program
Ages: Birth (0) to 3 years old
Governed by: Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA), Part C
Also known as early intervention services (EIS)
Ages: 3-21 years old
Governed by: Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act (IDEA), Part B
Also known as special education services
Eligibility CriteriaEligibility Criteria
Division 125% or 1.5 SD (Standard Deviation) below the
mean in one or more of the following areas of

1. Cognitive
2. Physical (fine or gross motor)
3. Communication (receptive or expressive language)
4. Social or Emotional
5. Adaptive

or –
Diagnosed physical or medical condition that
has a high probability of resulting in delay, such
as but not limited to:

Chromosomal abnormalities
Genetic or congenital disorders
Sensory impairments
Inborn errors of metabolism
Disorders reflecting disturbance of the
development of the nervous system
Congenital infections
Severe attachment disorders
Disorders secondary to exposure to toxic
substances, including fetal alcohol
2 SD (Standard Deviation ) below the mean in
one or more areas of development
or –
1.5 SD below the mean in two or more areas of
meaning –

Has one or more of the following disabilities

1. Developmental Delay (ages 3-8)
Upon his/her 8th birthday, your child must
be eligible under a different category
2. Specific Learning Disability
3. Intellectual Disability
4. Autism
5 Hearing Impairment
6. Emotional Disturbance
7. Deaf-blindness
8. Multiple Disabilities
9. Orthopedic Impairment
10. Other Health Impairment
11. Deafness
12. Speech/Language Impairment
13. Traumatic Brain Injury

and –
The disability/disabilities adversely affect
his/her educational performance
and –
His/her unique needs cannot be addressed
through education in general education classes
alone, with or without individual
accommodations, and require specially
designed instruction (SDI)
Administered by: Early Support for Infants and ToddlersAdministered by: Washington Office of
Superintendent of Special Instruction (OSPI)
Focus Subject of ServicesFocus Subject of Services
The IFSP outlines the family’s needs in
supporting the child’s developmental progress.
During the first three years of development,
the child’s needs are closely related to the
needs of the family. Recognizing parents as
major contributors in development, the IFSP
builds upon the individual strengths of the
family to address the needs of the child.
The IEP is a comprehensive plan for school-age
children, addressing their educational needs
and academic goals. The IEP specifies the
special education services, goals, and
accommodations necessary for the child’s
education. Goals are typically related to
academic, functional, and behavioral areas.
Location of ServicesLocation of Services
Infants and toddlers usually spend their days
at home or in childcare settings. These are
their “natural environment”. By receiving their
IFSP services in the natural environment, the
family learns to use natural learning
opportunities (like playtime, meals, or baths) to
create countless opportunities for the child to
practice and develop delayed skills. It also
includes the family’s social and cultural
networks, promoting full participation in
community life.
At age 3, a child becomes eligible for special
education and related services. They may
receive services through a preschool, center based and family
childcare center, Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program
, or Transitional Kindergarten. IEP
services must be provided in the “least
restrictive environment”, meaning that the
child should be with typically developing peers
(those without disabilities) as much as the team
agrees is appropriate for the child.
Frequency of Review and Re-EvaluationFrequency of Review and Re-Evaluation
The IFSP has two different types of reviews:

The periodic review occurs at least every six
months, or more frequently if necessary for
the child’s condition. During the review,
the team discusses progress toward family
outcomes (goals), any new assessment
information, and whether the IFSP needs to
be changed or updated.

At the annual meeting, the team will update
the present levels of development, develop
new outcomes bearing in mind the family’s
priorities, and consider services that will be
needed and provided moving forward.
The IEP must be reviewed, at a minimum,
yearly. This annual review allows the IEP team
to assess the student’s progress, make any
necessary adjustments to goals and services,
and ensure that the IEP continues to meet the
student’s needs.
Every three years, a reevaluation is conducted
if deemed necessary. This reevaluation can
help determine if the student’s disability and
needs have changed and if the services and
goals in the IEP need modification.
*Parents may request an IEP meeting at any

This article can be found as pages 5 and 6 of the 3-5 Transition Toolkit

Stress and Children Ages 0-3

“The perception of stress varies from child to child; serious threats may not disturb one child, while minor ones may be traumatic to another” (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2015).

Parents can’t know how stress will affect their child.  Just like adults experiencing something new, the effect of stress is different for each toddler or infant.

What kind of stress can an infant or toddler experience?

Stress related to their own disability – medical testing and surgeries, evaluations, new doctors or therapists, and medications including injections or infusions.

Social/emotional stress related to how other children or their siblings treat them.

Abuse may be physical, emotional, sexual, and/or induced substance abuse to the child, a sibling or a parent.

Sensing something is wrong related to a parent crying, shouting, or even speaking faster than normal.

An infant used to hearing a normal heart rhythm in the parent holding them, can be stressed when the parent holding the child has an increased heartbeat.

Have a parent or family member with a new injury or illness, such as dad coming home from deployment with an amputated arm; or a sibling diagnosed with cancer who can no longer play with the toddler.

Relocations, divorce, new parental figures, new child in the house, loss of a family member, loss of a pet, etc.

Anything within the family structure can cause stress to the child ages 0-3, especially if it causes stress to others in the home.

PTSD is something typically thought of when a service member returns home with signs of nightmares, heightened anxiety, or inability to talk through what they have been through.  Stress and in some cases, PTSD can be found in the youngest of children which can present in social, emotional or physical problems.

Step back a moment, remember a time in your own life when something negative had happened.  Maybe a lost job, a family pet died, there was an unwanted job transfer, or you received bad news.  Did it only impact you, or did it affect the entire family?  The stress of one family member can affect (and change) everyone in a family. An infant or toddler may not understand what is happening around them, but they can feel the tension or stress in the parent, sibling or family as a whole.

The reality is that younger children do not recognize trauma or crisis on their own, but they actually watch their parents or older siblings for their reactions to unexpected situations.  For example: when Riley, age 2, sees mom crying when she talks on the phone with her grandmother – he knows something is wrong.  Even the youngest child is very intuitive.  Will he understand that Grandpa just died? Of course not, but he knows mom is sad – therefore Riley is unsettled and stressed.  How this may manifests in a 2 year old can be very different from how mom manifests her own stress or sadness.

The younger the child the more they are likely to be sheltered from the crisis or a traumatic event.  What is known is that a child’s “early development depends greatly on the health and well-being of their parents” (National Research Council and Institute of Medicine).  As life reaches out to each family, stress cannot be avoided.  Knowing some of the causes of stress in the young child; and the signs of how stress might be seen, will provide transition to a healthier, well-adjusted family.

Some of the Typical Signs of Stress in the child 0-3 are:

Stomach or headaches

Changes in mood, more irritable, cries more, doesn’t cry when appropriate

Isolates self from others, wants to stay in bed, or under table or in closet

Unexplained changes in sleeping habits

Unexplained changes in eating habits

Fear of previously accepted people, places or situations

Some children, especially those with low immune systems (Asthma and allergies included) may run fevers when under stress

Another concern is a child’s stomach or headache, for example, may or may not be due to stress.  Whatever the cause, these symptoms are very real and confusing to the child.  If there are recurring issues with physical symptoms, the child should be seen by the primary care physician to rule out any medical issues.  If cleared medically, take a step back and look at the family as a whole.  Not to put fault on anyone, but to recognize that there may be other issues not currently being addressed.

Although an infant/toddler would not have a clue what the stress is about, they can still sense when the parents are stressed.  He/she would in turn express their own form of stress, such as displaying excessive bouts of crying, making it challenging for the parent to understand.  Some children with low immune systems may even exhibit fever with stress.

Some symptoms such as irritability could be difficult to decipher in a two-three year old, as acting out can be developmentally age appropriate.  The family would be better served to start with their primary care provider to evaluate the child’s developmental, psycho-social, and physical well-being.

If therapy is discussed for the infant/toddler, he or she would be referred to the nearest Early Intervention Services available.  Therapy may include Play therapy, Speech, or even Family Therapy.

It is just as important for the family to get help as it is for the child.  Helping the rest of the family deal with their own stress, will in turn help the child feel safer and free from stress.

Stress hits individuals of all ages, from a parent returning from war to a domestic violence victim; from the first-hand observation of a traumatic event to losing a job.  Being a member of a household with someone who is going through stress, anxiety or PTSD can also have an overwhelming impact on the family.

A child feels the result of the stress on the whole family, no matter how sheltered he or she is.  The underlying issue, whether for the child or another family member must be addressed with the entire family in mind to start the healing.

Ways to Help Families in Stressful Situations

Help parents to understand that it is not their fault – stress is a natural response to things beyond their control.

Listening to their concerns – it may just be they need to talk it through

Share your own experience (if appropriate) with family stress

Share support group contacts (as appropriate)

Encourage parent to continue to reach out to their family and friends, or Primary Care Physician, Behavioral Health Agencies, Tricare, Clergy, or Counselor.

Everyone needs to know they are not alone, that there is someone they can lean on when times are overwhelming or simply beyond their control.  Giving up control is hard to do, so many may not ask for help.  All you can do in those times is be there, letting them know you aren’t going anywhere.  When a child can feel stress within the family it is not a healthy situation for anyone in the family.  The most important responsibility you have as a parent or professional is to listen first; support the parent or family second; and only then is it helpful to offer up possibilities.