Early On

EO logo

Early On is how the State of Michigan refers to Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Early On affords developmental evaluations and services to families with children birth to age three that have a developmental delay or an established health condition that places them at a greater risk of having a developmental delay. Participation in the developmental evaluation and any services that the child may need are voluntary and parents must provide their written consent to participate. In Ionia County, the Intermediate School District oversees Early On including accepting referrals. Referrals to Early On come from a variety of sources including hospitals, parents, doctors, and community agencies. If your child is eligible for Early On, service providers could be from a variety of community agencies. Anyone can make a referral to Early On if they are concerned about a child’s development.

The following links will provide you with resources about basic early developmental milestones. Look these over first, if you have a question or concern about your child’s development.

If you are interested in monitoring your child’s development as they grow you can enroll in a free program called Connections through Family Futures.  Your child will be sent a series of Ages and Stages Questionnaires (ASQs) every 2-6 months, depending on your child’s age. The ASQ asks simple questions about your child and takes about 10 minutes to fill out. In return, you’ll receive specific feedback on your child’s progress, as well as developmental information on what to expect from your child and activities to foster their development.

If you live within the Ionia County ISD (ie. Belding, Ionia, Lakewood, Portland, Saranac, Haynor, North LeValley, Coon) school districts and have concerns about your child’s development. You can make a referral to Early On for further evaluation by clicking on the "make a referral" link below. You can either make a referral online to Ionia ISD or print off a form to fax or mail in. All referrals will be sent to your local school district for follow up.

This video shares the stories and experiences of providers working with families participating in the Early On program.

Know Your Rights!

Once you give your consent for your child’s developmental evaluation, you will be provided a copy of your rights. These rights are afforded to you as protections to assure that you and your child get the services that they need in a timely manner. The following list is meant to give you a quick guide to your basic rights:

You have the…

  1. right to a comprehensive evaluation completed within 45 days!
  2. right to a comprehensive plan called an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) that identifies needed services within 60 days!
  3. right to refuse the evaluation or any services as this program is voluntary!
  4. the right to participate in each step of the decision making process which involves assessment, eligibility and services!
  5. the right to receive written notice about the initiation or change in the identification, eligibility or services to your child and family.
  6. the right to understand how you can help your child learn and develop in their natural environments (home, daycare, shopping, church etc) and through your normal daily routines.
  7. the right to confidentiality, no information can be shared without your consent.
  8. the right to give your consent for the evaluation, services and who information will be shared with.
  9. the right to review your records and/or request mediation to resolve a dispute.
  10. the right to file an administrative complaint.

The following link is an electronic copy of the booklet that is provided to you to help you understand your rights. Click here.

This brief video provides a quick overview of a Family's Rights and Procedural Safeguards as it relates to participating in Early On or Part C of IDEA.


Natural Environment

Early intervention services for you and your child occur primarily in your home which is for most children 0-3 their natural environment or where they spend most of their time. The goal of intervention is for you to be able to help your child develop all day long, all week long etc and not just the times when a service provider is with you. Providing services in the child’s natural environment helps service providers understand what each child’s unique needs are. Sometimes, services are provided in a home daycare and/or group daycare setting or other community setting such as a playgroup. These can all be effective ways to support your child’s unique needs.


The Target for Early On Services is You the Parent!

Even though your child is the one who may have a developmental delay, the target for Early On services is you the parent! The philosophy is that parents are their child’s first and most important teacher and that our goal as service providers is to support, instruct, demonstrate, coach and encourage you in helping your child develop. This can be a great partnership for your child, as you can support your child’s development all through out the day and week!


Functional Outcomes

Following your child’s evaluation, you will learn a lot of information about where your child skills are in relationship to their typically developing peers. You will also be asked to provide input about how you feel your child is doing with respect to typical daily routines that you do each day such as, eating, communication, going places, sleeping etc. When deciding how to help you and your child, the goal is to bring these areas together by writing functional outcomes that combine your targeted routines and the child’s developmental skills. Often, your approach to a typical daily routine at home or at places in your community such as the park, daycare or the store can be modified such that they can create a powerful learning opportunity for your child.