I decided this last week that I want to start sharing some resources for all of you. I was thinking how there are so many resources available for families, and it makes me sad to think that most families wouldn’t know about them. To start us out I wanted to share with you about early intervention, especially because I work there and actually the idea came from going to the dog park this weekend…
I was at the dog park on Saturday morning and ran into a fellow dog owner who had his son with him. Me being me, I couldn’t help but ask about his son. Long story short, we ended up discussing how I work with children with developmental delays and he expressed, along with his wife, having concerns about his child’s language. We had a quick discussion about how he was doing developmentally and encouraged him to call his local early intervention program. He was glad to hear that there was a program out there for his child and for him to have his questions answered. I figured if this guy didn’t know about our program that maybe some of our readers didn’t either.
Early Intervention is a federally funded program for children 0-3 that show a delay in any of the developmental domains (gross or fine motor, language, cognition, social-emotional, and self help), or if they have a qualifying disability or diagnosis, such as down syndrome or autism (there is a list of over 100 qualifying diagnosis’).
Services provided from early intervention are typically given in home. There are a wide variety of specialist that would be available to you and your child, but would differ depending on where you live and the specific need. Where I work we have Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, Nurses, Special Educators, Child Development Specialists, Speech Language Pathologists, and a Social Worker.
The idea of early intervention is to give children the best start they can during their formative years. A child’s brain during these first three years has been called ‘plastic,’ meaning it is forming and able to mold easier than in later years. Research has shown that the earlier interventions are given, the easier it is for a child to catch up on their development and be more successful down the road.
Typically services are provided in the home and are meant to be a model and a resource for parents and caregivers on how they can improve their child’s development. Providers use play as a way to encourage development and often try to embed their ideas into your daily routines, because heaven knows that toddlers keep you busy.
Some examples of delays in development might be not walking by fifteen months, talking much less than other children their age, lots of repetitive behaviors that impact their daily activity, concerns about their problem solving skills or not being able to follow instructions around 18-24 months.
If you have concerns about your child or are unsure if they would qualify for a program, call your local school district and they can refer you to the early intervention program in your area. If your child is over three than the school district can evaluate your child and refer you to the services for that age. Initial evaluations are free to all families.
I really love working for such a great program that offers a lot of opportunities to families and children. I especially love being a part of a family and helping them reach goals that are important to them. If you’ve ever had a question about how your child is developing please call and get your child evaluated, the more time they have the more success they will have in the future.