The birth of a child is an event full of emotions that will change you life completely. A new beautiful baby comes to your home, family, and community. It is a time to celebrate. Their families know the child and wonder: is going to be a football player, will be a famous singer, will discover the cure for cancer, or become the President of the United States?
But what if the baby has a disability? What happens if you have health problems? And if, as time goes on, it seems that your child is not learning or developing like other children of his age? This part of our Web site will help you to find the answers and people who can help you.
By contacting the early intervention program
What should I do if I suspect that my child has special needs?
There is a lot of support available for children under three years of age and children preschool children with special needs, thanks to federal law, the Act for the education of individuals with disabilities (IDEA, for its acronym in English). Services for well young children, from birth until the third birthday, are called early intervention or services of part C (named after where described in law IDEA). Early intervention is a very effective way of helping children to reach the landmarks of development or to treat certain concerns that you may have about your child’s development as soon as possible. To learn more about these vital services, read on.
First, you should find out if your child is eligible for early intervention services. There are many people who can help you with esto. Below you will find information on how to get the help you need.
What are early intervention services?
Are services for infants and children until their third birthday, appointed to identify and address any problems or delay as soon as possible. Early intervention services are offered through a public or private agency and are provided in different places, whether in the home, in a clinic, in a child care center nearby, in the hospital, or local health department.
Early intervention services may range from a simple prescription lenses for a 2-year-old boy, to the development of a full program of physical therapy for a child with cerebral palsy.
Who first contact to receive help?
Each State decides which of its agencies will be the primary agency in charge of the early intervention services for infants and toddlers with special needs. It is possible that the person who is first contact is a child specialist, someone who works with the primary agency, or someone in the Office of “Child Find” (“identification of children”) of his State.
To find out who can help you, talk to the pediatrician for your child. Ask for a reference to the local early intervention program.
Important. Record the names and phone numbers of all persons who speak. This information can be helpful later.
Do I say to the person serving as a local contact?
Explain that you think your child may need early intervention services and make an appointment for testing (and analysis) and evaluation become. Write down all the information you give.
About the assessment process
What testing and evaluation?
Evaluation refers to the procedures used to determine if the child is eligible for early intervention services. Testing (and analysis) refers to the process of gather and use information about the child’s development and determine what kind of help may be needed. This information may originate from:
- Medical reports;
- Results of the tests or test’s development supplied to the child;
- The medical history of your child;
- Observations and opinions of all the members of the multidisciplinary team, including the parents; and
- Any other important observation, records, or reports about your child.
Who does the evaluation and testing?
It depends on the rules of your state. Ask the person serving as a local contact. A team of professionals will examine your child. This usually includes a psychologist, a child specialist, and specialists in physical therapy or occupational therapy.
Who pays for the evaluation and testing?
Under IDEA, evaluation and test is done free of charge of the families. The person who serves as local contact can help you to find out about the local rules.
In the case that my child is eligible to receive special services, will I have to pay for these?
Generally, services are provided without any spending by the family. It is possible that you have to pay for some services, depending on the policies of your state. Ask the local contact for your state. It is possible that some services may be covered under your policy of health insurance, Medicaid, disability tax credit or the Department of Indian health services.
What makes the Service Coordinator?
When it is determined the needs of the child and eligible to receive services, a service Coordinator will be assigned to the family. This person must be a specialist in child development and methods for helping children with delays in its development. The Service Coordinator must know the services and policies of your State’s early intervention programs. This person can help you locate other services in your community, such as recreation, child care, family support groups.
The Service Coordinator will work with his family while the child is receiving services. The Service Coordinator can help you plan for the future when your child will reach 3 years of age and changes to programs for children 3 to 5 years of age.
Writing the IFSP
What is an IFSP?
The family and the Service Coordinator will work with other professionals to develop a Plan individualized services to the family (“An Individualized Family Service Plan”, or IFSP). The basis of the IFSP is that the family is the greatest resource of the child, and that the needs of the infant are linked to your family’s needs. The best way to support the children and meet their needs is to support and develop the positive aspects of the family. Then the IFSP is a plan for the familyand parents are the most important part of the team.
The participation of other members of the team will depend on the needs of the infant. These other members of the team may come from other agencies, such as medical personnel, therapists, specialists in child development, and social workers, among others.
Each State has developed guidelines for the IFSP. Your service Coordinator can explain what these are.
About parent groups
Is there any local group of parents that can tell me about early intervention services?
There are several groups of parents, including:
- Support groups (such as parent-to – parent) to the families of children with disabilities;
- Training programs and information for parents, dealing with federal funds, such as the Centre in each State is known as the PTI (“Parent Training and Information Center”); and
- Groups interested in a specific disability, such as the associations United Cerebral Palsy (United Cerebral Palsy) or the Association for retarded citizens of the United States (The Arc).
Parent groups can offer information, support, or training for the families of children with disabilities in order that the parents carry out an important role in helping their children. Through these groups, families get to know other families with similar needs to discuss sources of help and information, everyday problems, and personal ideas.
Your service Coordinator or someone from your local school could help you to get in contact with local groups.