Knowing when to ask for help is a process. Parents, pediatricians, child care providers and family members may be the first to notice that a child may need a little extra help. However this is a sensitive area and many are not familiar with how to determine and then discuss getting help.
1. Visit the pediatrician for a Well Child visit!
The Well Child process has a built-in questionnaire, which screens for milestone delays. "The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you take your baby in for at least nine checkups during the first three years. During these visits, your child will receive a complete physical examination, height and weight measurements, and recommended vaccinations. Your pediatrician will also ask you about your child’s developmental milestones and can offer advice on everything from introducing solid foods to toilet training." First 5 California is a great resources to learn more about this process. Link here.
2. It is common for concerned adults to justify and articulate their concerns prior to escalating to a professional. Using a guide such as the CDC’s ACT Early Milestone Index is a great place to start if there are initial concerns. Experts have tested and documented the range of normal development from birth to age 5 years old here. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/actearly/milestones/index.html
3. Contact your local Regional Center for California Residents to request a Developmental Evaluation. Error on the side of safety and ACT Early! If you have visited your pediatrician or specialist and are not confident you are on the right path please trust that and seek a second opinion!
WHY IS ERALY INTERVENTION AKA EARLY START A PRIORITY?
The intent behind the Early Intervention is that a child’s developmental delays can be addressed best when they are discovered early.
IDEA Part C states that Early Intervention services
-Enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities
-Minimize their potential for developmental delay
-Recognize the significant brain development that occurs during the first 3 years of life
Those that are eligible for services
-Exhibit a delay in one or more of the five areas of development and/or
-Has a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay (IDEA Part C Federal Statute Page 4 of 26)
COMMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT EARLY START
Some families or even professionals may worry that a child may have a serious issue if they qualify for Early Start. This is not true. A delay in one or more of these areas is not cause for major concern. That alone is not going to qualify to determine a diagnosis, but rather a signal to take a closer look.
Some setting events are less likely to offer sufficient opportunities for development. Characteristics of children that are more likely to access Early Intervention but may not have a serious ongoing learning issue can be one of any of these as examples:
trauma in the family
medical illness early in life
lacking predictable routines
pacifier over usage
lacking the developmentally appropriate materials such as books, puzzles, and other materials.
In other scenarios an infant or toddler maybe developing at their own rate and none of the above are present. Each child and situation is different.
Many of the children Love 2 Learn, Early Start professionals see, meet their developmental milestones by the age of 3 or before. We call these Love 2 Learn graduations!
We encourage families and professionals to ACT Early so that we don’t miss out on valuable time. It's important to have the issue checked out promptly, as research shows early intervention can make a substantial difference in the lives of children. Educating families and professionals in regards to what Early Start is and isn’t helps remove some of the barriers in getting services started sooner rather than later.
For Infants and Toddlers in California (0-35 months) step 1 is for the family to contact the Regional Center to request an evaluation. The Regional Center then has 45 days from the date of the initial contact, or agency/physician referral to complete the initial evaluation and assessment for eligibility, and develop the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) for those who meet eligibility.
* Per Title 17, California State Regulations
In order to establish eligibility for Early Intervention services a Developmental Evaluation is conducted. Love 2 Learn have been performing developmental evaluations for almost 10 years now.
Our specialists interview, assess, test, score, and share the results, and recommendations with parents during the Developmental Evaluations. Our specialists then provide families and funding sources with a detailed written report that includes that child’s developmental scores across domains.
Some families will not require further formal support while others may then be recommended for Early Intervention in order to close the gap in development prior to the age of 3 years old.
Once the program commences clinicians can recommend increases or decreases based on progress and response to services. Love 2 Learn clinicians utilize the Early Start Denver Model which encourages
- Meaningful parental interactions
- Building positive relationships
- Naturalistic Teaching during play and everyday routines
Love 2 Learn has been providing Early Intervention Services since 2008. If we may be of service please don't hesitate to reach out to us.