Early intervention is a system of services that helps babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities. Early intervention focuses on helping eligible babies and toddlers learn the basic and brand-new skills that typically develop during the first three years of life. (Part C)
This system of support and teaching services (defined above) is generously coordinated and funded by the State of Nevada at no cost to the family. Briefly, the first step is to find out if a child is eligible. A pediatrician, a family member, a neighbor, or someone who spends time with the child may have noticed that other children in the same age group seem to be developing a little ahead of another child in one or more areas of growth (physical development, cognitive development, communication development, social/emotional development and/or adaptive development). The parent takes an active role in the decision to have the child evaluated for eligibility into an Early Intervention Program. Once the parent agrees to the added services, the process moves very quickly. “Timelines” are what drives the process as promptly as the regulations demand (within days) because those early months – even from the womb are the most critical and receptive developmental stages of the child’s abilities. The Provider Organization is then chosen by the parent and the Team is formed that includes members with specialties based on the area of need for the child. (See the page “How Do I Choose?” in this website for information that will assist you to know more about this provider- ‘Baby Steps’). A Team of professionals is formed based on the concerns that have been observed that t he child may need additional intervention to get on target. The Team is gathered together to get the most information about the child and family in order to develop plans that will fit into each specific family’s life while the child adjusts to new, focused tasks toward positive growth. Again, the Team moves quickly to ensure these critical months are taken advantage of by working with the parent to find out how they can best “fit” their written plan into the family routine.
It is imperative that everyone involved is aware of the timelines and the reasons there are so many. Children’s growth rates from before birth and the early months and years of your child’s growth, are the most rapid than at any other developmental stages in their lives. That is why it is critical to request evaluation as early as concerns or delays are noticed. To request evaluation you should immediately contact Project Assist at 800-522-0066 for information on moving forward. It is hard to believe but this (MY very own first Great Grandaughter! to the left) baby’s first picture shows her at only 17 weeks with her weight at about 5 oz. She will continue to grow at an astounding rate in utero and pick up speed – especially with her parents supporting and celebrating her milestone completions after birth. That is why timing is critical. Not just critical to have her evaluated, but also critical in starting services on time, following progress or changing the strategies regularly. We can’t have babies working on the same things without success or we are wasting precious learning moments.
Working through those steps by educating parents and modeling the ways it could work using the child’s strengths and interests really does become the foundation upon which the whole family will pull together to provide the approach that works for each individual child. And we don’t want to forget to give that focused attention to those reachable tasks involving the whole family in the “Celebrations of Success” as each goal is mastered!.
Again, Project Assist will provide you with a list of community providers of early intervention services in your area of the State, and with no cost to the family it gives you one less worry toward getting a significant jump on your child’s development in the right direction at the most critical stage of his/her life advancement.
So how do you choose your provider when it seems like all providers do the same thing according to the laws in Nevada? Well, first you must take a few moments to review the list of websites given to you from Project Assist so that you can review some information about the service specialties of providers in your area. ISS Baby Steps is one of those providers you will see on the list (also listed as Integrated Support Solutions (ISS)). Our website is geared toward giving parents the best information available about what we do, about child growth and development, about the TEAM of professionals that will support you and about how to help your family with real, down to earth strategies that make it easier to integrate into your day, as well as where to find other resources for your child and family. It is difficult to know which community provider will mesh best with your family beliefs; one who provides the services that match best with your family as a whole; or which provider sounds like they believe in the same philosophy regarding your family’s relationships and education. While there is a lot of information on some websites, most have a section that is geared toward what parents need to know. Take your time to see who “feels” the most open and interested in working with the individual needs of your whole family, while assuring your child that needs a bit of extra help is clearly addressed and at the middle of the group for his/her needed support system.
Here at Baby Steps we have several pages for parents to review that should answer many of your questions. After you choose a provider, our website is set up for you to come back to at any time and read more detail in areas of interest. It is a lot to take in on a first visit to each website, but just remember, you can come back when you have new questions or want to review ideas or just take in a little at a time.