Services in the US Part I of VI - Early Intervention
Services In The United States For Children and Adults With A Disability
We spent years trying to navigate the federal and state services offered to children with disabilities in the US. We had to figure out waitlists, social security, Medicaid, grants, health care programs, early intervention, and special education services. I am hoping to help others avoid what we went through with our own child. I am speaking as a parent and as a future speech-language therapist (I graduate in May of 2019). I’ve had courses in special education law and received training in Medicaid funding and billing. I am going to try and provide other parents with the information guide I wish had existed when our daughter was born.
*I do not have information for the services offered in other countries. If you live outside of the United States and have some information on services available, please let us know so that we can create a more comprehensive international directory.
What is it? Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that early intervention services be made available to children birth to three years old. Each state funds its own program and costs to families are on a sliding scale but for most families, services are free.
Who qualifies? Children from birth to three years with a developmental delay in one or more developmental areas: cognition, physical, self-help skills, communication, and social/emotional. Each state has its own definition of developmental delay including how many areas of development are delayed and by how much. For example: 1.5 standard deviations below the mean on a developmental norm-referenced assessment; 30% deficit in two or more developmental areas.
What can they help me with? Early intervention programs create Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) for each child that qualifies. Some of the services are offered in the child’s home include speech/occupational/physical therapy, skilled nursing, nutrition services, family counseling/training, audiology services, and assistive technology.
How do I get in contact with them? You can contact your state’s early intervention program through your pediatrician, by calling your nearest children’s hospital, or by searching for early intervention in your state.
Website: Here is a directory for each state: http://ectacenter.org/contact/ptccoord.asp