Early Childhood or Early Intervention or Early Development Network or EDN or PRT 5… What’s the difference?

Did you know that in the state of Nebraska we have a unique way of serving our earliest learners? The Nebraska Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services have joined forces to create the Early Development Network (EDN) which governs the educational and Medicaid provided services for children birth to age 3 in their homes.  Another unique aspect of Nebraska’s early childhood/early intervention services is that school districts are grouped together into Planning Region Teams which ensure that infants and toddlers are identified within the communities and receive early intervention/special education services.  As well, the PRT ensures all rules and regulations are met for school districts within the area.  One final difference is the school districts' performance on providing early intervention is reported by the PRT region rather than individual districts. 

Who is the PRT?

There are 3 Services Coordinators: Jennifer Behrends, Jesse Meints-Harms, and Cheri Koenig.  These ladies work closely with the families to make sure they are receiving the services they need to help their young child develop.  They are also incharge of developing and monitoring the Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) that is updated every 6 months.   These three Services Coordinators develop a strong bond with the families and are often the first person families reach out to when they are experiencing difficulties with their young child as well as when they see their child succeed at something they have worked on with the therapists.

Service Providers go into the families’ homes to coach the parents on how to help their child develop the skills they are delayed in.  The service providers are a combination of speech-language pathologist, occupational therapists, physical therapist, teacher of the deaf and hard hearing, and teachers for the visually impaired.  All of these specialists work with children ages birth to 21 and have to often take off their Part B cap (special education services for children ages 3-21) and put on their Part C (EDN service for ages birth-3 years old).  There are many rules and regulations they need to remember that are different between Part B and Part C.  They often provide early intervention services after working in the school all day.  The majority of the providers have been certified in the Routines Based Interview (RBI) and continue with professional development to hone their Early Intervention skills.  

The Early Childhood has support from Allison, Nancy and Pam to help with completing multi-disciplinary reports (MDT), IFSP’s, monthly billing for DHHS Medicaid services as well as the Services Coordinators required monthly Case Notes.

EDN Staff
The Early Childhood department continues to grow and work to meet the needs of the children and families as they are first experiencing working with school districts.

We are always on the lookout for children birth to age 3 who could benefit from Early Intervention Services.  Please contact Sarah Roesler (402-223-5277 or email sroesler@esu5.org) if you know of a family in the ESU 5 area.

I am so grateful that the ESU had so many specialists to work with my son, because now I know what to do to help my child with autism. The speech pathologist and occupational therapist from the ESU have allowed him to gain more than I ever expected him to. I don’t know what I would have done without them.
The best part of working at ESU 5 is the people I work with!
ESU 5 Staff Member
ESU 5 is a wonderful place to work! My co-workers are helpful, friendly and supportive.
ESU 5 Staff Member