“Look What I Can Do”
Early Intervention Statewide Outcomes Survey
Illinois Project Staff
Nyle Robinson, Project Director
Mary Ellen Simpson, Project Epidemiologist
Chelsea Guillen, Project Coordinator
DHS-Division of Community Health and Prevention
1112 S. Wabash-4th Floor
Chicago, IL 60605
Illinois Bureau of Early Intervention
Texas Project Staff
Robin Nelson, Project Director
Elyse Luke, Research Specialist
Don Bailey, PhD
To contact us:
The Illinois Department of Human Services Bureau of Early Intervention is working with the Texas Department of Assistive Rehabilitative Services to develop a survey that will examine early intervention family outcomes. Funded through a collaborative grant from the Office of Special Education Programs, the Statewide Outcome Survey (SOS) being developed by Illinois and Texas will enable states to assess outcomes quickly and comprehensively. The information gathered from the surveys will help guide program improvements and demonstrate positive impacts for families to the agencies that fund EI services.
Families who receive early intervention services, the professionals who provide these services and the administrators who oversee Early Intervention in Illinois know EI works. The slogan “The sooner we start, the farther they’ll go” is quickly embraced by those who touch the lives of young children with special needs.
Although the importance of early intervention has been recognized across the country for years, the immediate effectiveness of providing a broad range of services to young children, ages birth to three, and their families is not often researched. Longitudinal studies show that Early Intervention produces dramatic net savings over time on the order of $13 in educational, health and social service costs for every dollar spent on the program. Analyzing the realized individual impact is more difficult because the average child receives EI services for only about 12-14 months.
Officials from both states say going beyond process measures and reliance on national studies is challenging, but they acknowledge a need to better assess outcomes and demonstrate their positive impact(s) on a more timely basis.
Work on developing a survey process to look at family outcomes is already underway. Families have been invited to offer their input on the survey process at a series of focus groups held across the state. Additional focus groups are meeting to provide feedback on the draft survey. The surveys will then be translated into different languages and formats.
When the final family survey is distributed to families they will be asked to answer questions that relate to the following eight outcomes:
1. Families understand their children’s strengths, abilities and special needs
2. Families know their rights and effectively communicate their children’s needs
3. Families help their children develop and learn
4. Families feel they have adequate social support
5. Families are able to access services and activities that are available to all families in the community
6. Families will experience improvements in their quality of life
7. Families will express optimism for their children’s and families’ futures
8. Families will feel that their transitions from Part C services were successful
Completed surveys will be analyzed on a variety of dimensions such as demographic characteristics and services received. The analysis will then be used for program improvement and policy development.
The Illinois General Supervision Enhancement Grant is supported through a grant, PR Award # H326X04006-05, through the US Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. However, the contents of this site do not necessarily represent the positions or policies of the Office of Special Education or the US Department of Education, and readers should not assume endorsement by the federal government.