View Full Version : Suggestion:Early Intervention Resources

04-11-2003, 10:38 AM
Good news! There are free resources available to parents worried about developmental delays in their infant/toddler. Most states now have an agency that specializes in screening children birth to age three for developmental delays or difficulties and provide professional therapy......for no cost whatsoever! No income limits, no socio-economic limits, no labels for the kids, never a cost to parents. Just services for children who need them. Typically they are provided in-home or at the school/child care center the child attends and the parents or care givers are present and can be heavily involved at every step of the way. Therapy is stopped once the delay is overcome. Therapists are also eager to teach the parent/care-giver how the child can be helped in daily situations, as well. Considering the cost of in-home, private, licenced, professional therapy for infants and toddlers(physical, occupational, speech and such) this definitely qualifies as a bargain to me.

These sorts of agencies are usually a part of the state department of education or the department of health. Referrals are not needed and, in all of my experiences, parents can request an evaluation all on their own with just a phone call. Physicians and pediatricians can be a good resource for finding your state agency. So can local early childhood advocacy groups or college/university early childhood education programs. This is one program that is definitely working and making a tremendous difference in the lives of children across the country.

04-11-2003, 02:35 PM
I have availed myself of a same or similar service recently. It is actually a federal mandate and ALL states are required by law (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Part C - Early Intervention) to provide free developmental screenings for children from birth to age 3.

If it is the same program, my experience was a bit different than that described above, so I will just mention that. The screenings are free, however, the services provided are not free. They are provided on a sliding fee scale based on your family income. Depending on the services provided, the fees can be substantial. (Many of the therapies in my area are billed at the rate of $120 per hour.) If your family income is below a certain level, then the services ARE free, and NO ONE is denied services because of inability to pay.

Also, while I did call the office directly and schedule an evaluation myself, a prescription was required from my pediatrician documenting some type of delay in order to qualify for a screening. There was also a 40 day wait for an in-home screening, but I was able to get a cancellation for a screening at the center and was able to get in within a week.

Also, many states have similar program for older children. For example, the state of Virginia has a program for children starting at age 2. And those services, since they are provided by the school system, are provided free of charge. So if my DD still needs services then, we may transition to the school program.

I must say that EVERYONE I dealt with was absolutely wonderful. Caring, kind and extremely nice. We start our in-home therapy next week, when an early infant educator will be coming to my home once a week for a month and then twice a month after that, until we are satisfied with Sarah's progress.

Here is a link to the description of the program in Virginia (where I live), but the program is similar all over the country. http://www.earlyintervention-va.com/overview.html#Q1

This is ABSOLUTELY a fantastic program, and I would urge anyone who is hesitant about using such a service to avail themselves of it. It was a MUCH more pleasant experience than I ever though it would be.