Transitioning Out of an IFSP

It is too early to start thinking about preschool?

  • Breathe…Take a deep breath.
  • Remember, transitioning from early intervention to educational services doesn’t happen overnight. It is a process; you don’t need all the answers now. You can explore and discuss options. 

An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a plan for early intervention services that will be in place until your child turns three. The process of transitioning out of early intervention services, however, may start sooner than you think. You can prepare for these changes by understanding how your child will shift from having early intervention providers to school-based team members. 

It is key to work with your service coordinator to provide as much information to the school about the evaluations, services, and supports your child has been receiving. An open dialogue will help the school-based educational team determine the appropriate supports for your child in this new educational setting. 

What You Can Do Now

As your child transitions into preschool, many new people will engage with your child to understand their needs and abilities. Connecting with the new team makes navigating your child’s next educational chapter easier. Knowing your options, the process, and your rights enables you to ask important questions and advocate for your child confidently.

  • Explore options for preschool, including your local school preschool, private preschool, or state school. Each offer will have pros and cons for you and your family. 
  • Prepare a statement for new team members to introduce your child, highlighting their home behaviors, strengths, challenges, and concerns. This helps the team understand your child better.
  • Knowing your rights as a parent empowers you to understand the process and ask critical questions.

Transition Process

The process for transitioning out of IFSP depends on the specific situation and the state or county in which you reside. However, here are some general steps that may occur during your transition process:

Evaluation or Report

Your current providers may utilize a few sessions to update an evaluation and write a report for the school or preschool your child will be entering. It’s important that all of your current providers share what they are working on and tips for working with or evaluating your child. Additional professionals or family members who help care for your child can also share information about your child. 


Various school professionals from your child’s future school or preschool (such as a Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments, Orientation and Mobility instructor, Occupational Therapist, Physical Therapist, Speech Therapist, etc.) will complete tests and assessments to determine if your child is still eligible for special education services.


The team reviews assessment results and creates an IEP for your child’s preschool start. It’s key to prepare, like bus boarding and building navigation. If a white cane is used or needed, include an O&M specialist in the team. In the meeting, you and the team set IEP goals, monitoring, reporting, and communication methods for concerns or meeting requests.

Who should attend your transition meeting?

  • Both parents or guardians (this may be a grandparent, friend, or extended family member) and possibly a notetaker
  • Any current early intervention service providers
  • The new preschool or school special education team, any team member who completed an assessment, and a local school district representative
  • Any other professionals or agencies you or the school determine should be involved in your child’s care or education

Here are just a few questions to consider asking during your meeting

  • What goals and activities should my child achieve before starting school or program?
  • What services and supports will my child get, and how do they differ from the IFSP?
  • What training and support will teachers, staff, bus drivers, and nurses receive?
  • How will the school or program monitor and evaluate my child’s progress, and what feedback will I get?
  • How will the school or program communicate and collaborate with healthcare providers, therapists, and other professionals supporting my child?

Follow up

After your child transitions into the school setting, you may have additional meetings to ensure your child and you are adjusting well to the new school and to address any new needs or concerns. 

Remember that transitioning out of an IFSP and early intervention services is a gradual process, and it should be completed in a way that supports your child and your family’s needs and goals. Be sure to ask questions along the way to understand the process and ensure all concerns are addressed. An open line of communication will go a long way to support your child in this next chapter.