When you think of your child and how he or she is growing and learning, you notice many things like how soon he or she smiles, sits up, rolls over, or how well he or she walks, talks, holds a spoon, and eats. What you are seeing are changes and advances in learning and development. Children develop in five primary areas:
- Physical Development: the ability to move, see, and hear
- Language / Speech Development: the ability to talk, understand, and express needs
- Social and Emotional Development: the ability to relate to others
- Self-help / Adaptive Development: the ability to eat, dress, and take care of oneself
- Cognitive Development: the ability to think and learn
Identifying & Improving Developmental Delays
Because you know your child so well, you may feel that he or she is developing differently or more slowly than other children the same age. While all children grow and change at their own, unique pace, some children do experience delays in development that may be cause for concern. If your child is not attaining normal milestones, Early Intervention can really help.
Early Intervention (EI) is designed specifically to help diminish challenges for the child and help the family enhance and aid in the child’s growth, development, and learning. It is a process that promotes collaboration among parents, EI providers, childcare providers, and others in the community who are involved with the child and it is available to all children birth to age 3 at no cost to the family.
Make a Referral
The first step for any family living in Fayette County concerned about their child’s development is to call us at 724-430-1370. Anyone can make a referral for EI services.
An Early Intervention program specialist will then meet with the child and family to determine whether the child meets the criteria for eligibility. This is done through an independent Multi-Disciplinary Evaluation (MDE) that identifies parent or caregiver concerns and assesses all areas of the child’s development.
Once a child is determined to be eligible for services, an Individual / Family Service Plan (IFSP) is created that outlines outcome objectives and service recommendations for the child and family and the process begins. This is done initially and every six months until the child’s 3rd birthday.
EI builds upon the natural learning that occurs in a child’s early years and uses routine-based strategies to promote a child’s development in natural environments. Services are individualized to each child (family) based on family-identified outcomes, and may include services by a variety of professionals.
If a child is attending an early care / education setting, EI teachers, therapists, and specialists can assist the early childhood staff with strategies to promote the child’s development. EI can also assist families in obtaining a variety of community services and supports.
Services and supports are provided at no cost to families and may include:
- Education and support for the parent or caregiver
- Ideas for how a family can help their child at home as well as in the community
- Information on how children develop skills and abilities
- Specific developmental therapies designed for the child
Please call us if you’d like to inquire about Early Intervention in Fayette County; dial 724-430-1370 and ask for an EI Service Coordinator.