Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP)
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that public schools must provide resources for children with qualifying disabilities, such as speech disorders. However, each state has its own programs to implement the law. States may also have their own special education policies, so long as those policies comply with the federal law. If you live in Arizona, your child may be able to get help through the Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP). AzEIP covers children from birth through 36 months. AzEIP is implemented in conjunction with several state departments, such as the Arizona Dept. of Health Services (ADHS), the Arizona Dept. of Education (ADE), and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS), among others.
Referring a Child
If you suspect that your child might qualify for help for a speech disorder under the Early Intervention program, you can refer him to AzEIP. Contact the AzEIP office nearest you. For the list of offices, call AzEIP at (602) 532-9960 or find your local office by entering your zip code in this website. After your child is referred to AzEIP, an Interim Service Coordinator (ISC) will contact you to make an appointment. You may choose to have the appointment in your home.
Expect to share your child’s health and medical records with the ISC during your appointment. Be frank when discussing your concerns. Provide specifics about your child’s development and the possibility of a speech disorder or delay. Ask the ISC any questions you might have about AzEIP. Both you and the ISC may decide that an evaluation by a speech-language pathologist (SLP) is needed. The evaluation will determine whether your child is eligible for services under the IDEA Early Intervention regulations.
Costs of Early Intervention
AzEIP will cover the cost of the evaluation if your insurance does not. However, you may be expected to pay a portion of services if your child is found to be eligible for help. As of November 1, 2010, AzEIP implemented a new requirement called Family Cost Participation that mandates cost-sharing. Whether or not you will be expected to share the financial burden depends on your family’s size and income. Check out this website for additional information and resources.
Compare your family size and income to the Federal Poverty Guidelines (FPG). If your income is 200% or more than the current FPG established for your family’s size, you will be expected to shoulder a portion of the costs. If your insurance will cover some or all of the costs, your share of the financial burden will be reduced or eliminated. The portion of the costs that you might have to pay is established with the Percent to Pay Table. You can request this document from the ISC.
Under certain circumstances, the burden of financial responsibility is eliminated. This applies to children who are enrolled in the Arizona Long Term Care System (ALTCS), children who are in the legal custody of the Arizona Dept. of Economic Security (DES), children in a tribe, and those in a child welfare agency in another state.
The ISC can also refer you to additional resources for your child. For example, if you do not have health insurance, you might be eligible for the Arizona Health Care Containment System (AHCCS), which is Arizona’s Medicaid agency. Here are a few other resources:
- Arizona Dept. of Ed. – Parent Information Network
- Arizona Head Start Association
- Raising Special Kids
- First Things First