SoonerStart-Early Intervention

Purpose

SoonerStart is Oklahoma’s early intervention program for families of infants and toddlers, birth to 36 months who have developmental delays, disabilities or both. SoonerStart was established under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). SoonerStart builds upon and provides supports and resources to assist family members to enhance an infant’s or toddler’s learning and development through everyday learning opportunities.  The SoonerStart program provides case management, evaluation, AT devices and services.

Contact(s)

Lead Agency

Mark Sharp, Executive Director
SoonerStart Early Intervention
Oklahoma State Department of Education
2500 N Lincoln, Ste. 412
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Service Provision Agency

John Corpolongo, Chief
SoonerStart Early Intervention
Oklahoma State Department of Health
1000 NE 10th, Rm 803
Oklahoma City, OK 73117

Eligibility

  • Infants and toddlers birth through 36 months of age who:
    • exhibit a delay in their developmental age compared to their chronological age of 50% in one, or 25% in two or more of the following areas: cognitive, physical, communication, social/emotional, or adaptive development; or
    • have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in delay. This includes, but is not limited to: chromosomal disorders, neurological abnormalities, inborn errors of metabolism, genetic disorders, congenital malformations of the brain, congenital infections, sensory abnormalities, impairments, or identified syndromes.

AT Services Provided/Covered

  • Assessments & Evaluations
  • Locating Alternate Funding
  • Case Management
  • Training for Consumer & Family
  • Information & Referral
  • Fabrication of Devices
  • Maintenance & Repairs

AT Devices Provided/ Covered

  • Aids for Hearing Impaired
  • Mobility/Seating & Positioning
  • Speech Communication
  • Aids for Daily Living
  • Aids for Vision Impaired
  • Recreation & Leisure Devices

How to Get the AT

  • A referral for SoonerStart services can be made by physicians and other health professionals, family members, childcare professionals, neighbors, friends and other interested individuals. There are three ways to submit a referral:
  • Participation in SoonerStart is voluntary. SoonerStart will complete the developmental screening, evaluation of the child’s development or both at no direct cost to the family.
  • If the family chooses to accept services, an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) identifying the needed services and supports for the child and the family will be developed. The family will participate in identifying these services and supports.

Pieces of the Puzzle

  • There is no direct cost to families for early intervention services, regardless of the family’s income.
  • SoonerStart is a joint effort of the Oklahoma Departments of: Education, Health, Human Services, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Health Care Authority and the Commission on Children and Youth. The lead agency is the Oklahoma State Department of Education.
  • The IFSP is a coordinated plan of service based on the identified needs of the individual child and family. The IFSP is jointly developed by the family and appropriate early intervention personnel.
  • The early intervention services identified in the IFSP may include assistive technology devices that are used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.
  • AT devices may be provided by SoonerStart when certain criteria have been met. Those requirements are listed in Section 1900 of the SoonerStart Operations Manual (PDF).
  • An AT Request form can be found in the SoonerStart Operations Manual (PDF) Appendix KK.
  • AT devices provided by SoonerStart remain the property of the program.
  • AT devices are made available to SoonerStart teams statewide for demonstration to help families and caregivers decide if one or more AT devices will meet the child’s needs.  Many devices are provided for demonstration and short-term loan purposes by ABLE Tech.
  • For children who may be eligible for IDEA Part B services, at least 90 days before the child’s third birthday, a meeting to ensure a smooth transition from SoonerStart to the preschool program under Part B of IDEA will be held. If the child is eligible for special education services, any needs for AT will be addressed by the Individual Education Program (IEP).

Dispute Resolution Process

Informal Process

  1. Families should go back to the Early Intervention Coordinator with concerns about services and ask for a meeting to work out the request through local procedures to expedite resolution of the problem. However, families have the right to go through the formal process, in addition to, or in lieu of, the informal process.

Formal Process

  1. Complaints must be written and include:
    • how SoonerStart has violated a requirement under Part C of IDEA;
    • the basic facts which lead to the belief that the law has been violated;
    • complaints pertaining to a specific child with a disability that include the child’s name, date of birth, and current IFSP; and
    • the signature of person(s) filing the complaint.
  2. Upon receipt of a complaint or request for a due process hearing, the Early Intervention Unit will offer mediation within five working days of receiving the complaint or hearing request.
    • A request for a due process hearing must be in writing, signed, and addressed to:
      • Attention: SoonerStart Early Intervention Program
        Oklahoma State Department of Education
        2500 N Lincoln Boulevard, Ste. 510
        Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105-4599
  3. The Oklahoma Parents Center is available to provide information on federal and state laws regarding the provision of early intervention services, and parent rights and responsibilities to all eligible infants and toddlers and their families.
    • Sharon House, Exec. Director
      Oklahoma Parents Center, Inc.
      PO Box 512
      Holdenville, OK 74848
    • (877) 553-4332 (V/TDD)
    • (405) 379-6015
    • (405) 379-2108
    • FAX: (405) 379-0022
    • OklahomaParentsCenter.org

Additional Helpful Contacts

Special Education Resolution Center (SERC)

Special Education Resolution Center (SERC)
9726 E 42nd St, Ste. 203
Tulsa, OK 74146

  • (918) 270-1849
  • (888) 267-0028 (toll free)
  • Fax: (918) 270-2062
  • okserc.org

Oklahoma ABLE Tech

Amy Woods, COTA
Oklahoma ABLE Tech
1514 W Hall of Fame
Stillwater, OK 74078-2026