On Thursday, September 22 we had our meeting with NY State to determine how many sessions of state-funded therapy Madison would receive until the age of 3. This was our ISFP meeting, Individual Family Service Plan meeting. Present at the meeting was: Madison, mommy and daddy, Tamara (our service coordinator), two representatives from NY State, and Meredith (director from Clarke) on via conference call.
The ISFP meeting is the third step in the early intervention (EI) process. The first step was finding a servicer coordinator - we'll be using Tamara (who happens to also work at the Clarke School). The second step was for Madison to get evaluated by therapists. We had this done by two therapists at Clarke - Sarah and Lauren. The EI program is not solely related to hearing loss. In fact, it covers many other areas. However, Madison will be using the program for speech therapy and we've aligned ourselves with the Clarke School as their speech therapists focus on infants/children with hearing loss.
At the meeting, we focused on Madison's development as well as our concerns (and goals) for the short-term and future. We had been forewarned by numerous people that this meeting was tedious and intrusive, but we did not feel that way at all. Maybe we were lucky with the two state representatives that ran our meeting. We were hoping to receive three 30 minute therapy sessions a week, along with a parent/infant group therapy session...plus transportation to/from the UES.
Even though they claimed our appointment was one of the first of its kind being performed online using their "NICE" system, it felt as if there was a ton of paperwork. When we finally go to the section of which services the state will approve Madison for, one of the state administrators said, "We'll give Madison two sessions, 1 group and transportation." We were shocked!!! Tamara had said to us that all of her recent families were granted with three sessions. Immediately, Tamara (politely) objected and Meredith weighed in with her opinions too. My husband and I said, "We know these next few years are critical and don't want to have any regrets." Next thing we know, the state representative said, "Fine. You're approved for three therapy, one group and transportation." Meeting adjourned. We'll have meetings with the state every six months until she turns 3 years old, then we switch from the Department of Health to the Department of Education.
In this difficult time, we are so happy to be living in the greatest city. To have all of these options available to us, and a short car ride away is invaluable. Now, it's up to us to utilize these resources and have Madison reach her full potential.