Early Intervention Services
When a child comes into the world with the challenge of a developmental delay or disability, where does a family turn for help? What if the child’s caregivers are also facing other challenges, such as not having enough food, unstable housing, or trouble paying the bills? The answer is Early Intervention Services (EIS). In fact, when a family initially learns that their child has a developmental delay or disability, EIS staff are often the first people to offer much needed support and encouragement.
For more than ten years, ESD 123’s EIS team has sought not only to connect families to resources, but to simplify life also for the families they serve. Right from the start, the team takes time to understand and consider a family’s daily routines when planning and managing services. This means services can be integrated more seamlessly into their days, taking pressure off families who are already working hard and have a lot to juggle.
Services and support come in many forms, from Speech and Language Training and Physical Therapy, to education for students who are deaf, blind, or experiencing autism. ESD 123’s EIS serves approximately 200 infants and toddlers with social-emotional, communication, motor, or cognitive delays. The staff also coaches families on how to support their child’s progress with information on child development, resources, tools, and strategies. EIS also works closely with Parent to Parent, to connect families with other families who have children with similar disabilities.
People are often surprised to learn that services are available to infants and toddlers--thinking that Special Education Services only apply to students K-12. However, the Individuals with Disabilities Act applies to children birth to age 21. This makes it possible for EIS to offer support to infants and their families as well.
Practical assistance for infants and families might look like helping families who are leaving the hospital or Natal Intensive Care Unit with coordinating, scheduling, and getting to appointments with specialists. While the staff is comprised of highly trained professionals in their respective fields, they often find themselves lending moral support.
In the end, the work is all about enabling children with developmental delays or disabilities to be active and successful at home, in childcare, in preschool or school programs, and in the community. Please visit ESD 123 Early Intervention Services for more information.