Tennessee’s Early Intervention System (TEIS) is an optional educational plan for families with children age birth through two years of age with disabilities or developmental delays. TEIS connects families with services to assist them in promoting maximum social, emotional, cognitive and physical growth in their child with special needs.
Information from a child’s physician, as well as results from a developmental assessment, assist in determining program eligibility. Children diagnosed with certain disabilities (i.e. known, obvious, or diagnosable conditions such as sensory losses and severe physical impairments) or children whose assessment results suggest that they have a 25% lag in two growth areas (motor, cognitive, communication, social, or adaptive) or a 40% lag in one area may be eligible for early intervention services (TDOE, 2003).
The Tennessee Early Intervention System consists of nine districts. Shelby County is part of the Memphis Delta (MD) district, which also includes Fayette, Lauderdale and Tipton counties. In 2008, 862 children (0-2) in the MD district received early intervention services (90% of EI participants in the MD district receive services in Shelby County).
Annually, Tennessee reports to the Federal Office of Special Education Services the progress we have made toward reaching state target goals set in the State Performance Plan*. In spring of this year, the TEIS Early Intervention Programs Report to the Public was released (Reporting Period: July 1, 2007- June 30, 2008). The Memphis Delta District met or exceeded the state goal (or made progress from the 2006-2007 reporting year) in the majority of the eleven addressed state indicators, including:
- Percent of Individualized Family Service Plan services provided in family’s natural environment, including the home and community settings in which children without disabilities participate (88%)
- Percent of families reporting that TEIS services have helped their family know their rights (94%)
- Percent of families reporting that TEIS services have helped their family effectively communicate their children’s needs (89%)
- Percent of infants and toddlers birth to 1 year old served compared to the State target
- Percent of infants and toddlers birth to 3 years old compared to the State Target
Notably, 100% of all Memphis Delta District families exiting early intervention services had transitional support written into their family service plan- this means that the TEIS service coordinator helped prepare the family by planning for future services and changes prior to the child’s third birthday (the point in time when children are no longer eligible for Part C Early Intervention Services). Additionally, all of these families received notification services to the local school (with parent permission) if their child is potentially eligible for special education preschool services (age 3-5).
We applaud the positive results of this report and support the efforts of our local early intervention staff to provide exceptional services to at-risk children and families in our community. Early intervention provides assistance to encourage the best possible developmental results, and also supports families trying to provide for their child’s special requirements. For vulnerable infants and toddlers, early intervention can be a lifeline to optimal social, emotional, and cognitive development (Jones, 2009).
To make an early intervention referral in Shelby County, please call Memphis Delta TEIS at 901-937-6738 or email District Administrator Olga Page at Olga.Page@state.tn.us. Additional information on the Tennessee Early Intervention system can be found at http://www.state.tn.us/education/teis/index.shtml.
For more information on the well-being of children in Memphis and Shelby County, visit The Urban Child Institute at http://www.theurbanchildinstitute.org.
Jones, L. (2009). Making hope a reality: Early intervention for infants and toddlers with disabilities. Washington, DC: ZERO TO THREE Policy Center.
Tennessee Department of Education. (2002, October). Rules of state board of education: Tennessee’s earlyintervention system (Chapter 0520-1-10). Nashville, TN: Author.
Tennessee Department of Education. (2009, March). Tennessee’s early intervention system’s early intervention report to the public: March 2009. Nashville, TN: Author.
*A six-year plan that all states developed related to operating an early intervention program in their state; each state set goals for their performance related to Federal markers