Early intervention program offered

Piedmont Community Services (PCS) noted that early intervention is a system of supports and services that helps babies and toddlers with developmental delays or disabilities.

The program focuses on supporting families so that they can help their child learn and develop during everyday activities and routines, according to PCS, which serves Patrick, Henry and Franklin counties and the City of Martinsville.

According to a release from the agency, a child must meet one or more of the following criteria to be eligible to receive early intervention supports and services:

*Developmental delay – children who are functioning at least 25 percent below their chronological or adjusted age in one or more areas of development

*Atypical development – abnormal muscle tone, feeding difficulties, limitations in joint range of motion, poor quality of movement patterns, etc.

*Diagnosed physical or mental condition, including NICU stay of 28 days or longer, preterm birth at 28 weeks gestation or prior, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, hearing loss, vision impairments, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, cleft lip/palate, etc.

Referrals can be made by anyone, including parents, family members, hospitals, or doctors, according to the release.

Once a referral is received, the early intervention program has 45 days to complete eligibility determination, and if the child is found eligible, complete the initial assessment of the child and family, and write the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP), a plan that is based on the needs of the child and family.  The plan includes goals for working with families to help their baby do things that are important to his/her growth.  Each plan is individualized, based on the needs of the child and family and family priorities and concerns.

For most families, early intervention services are provided at the family’s home, but may be provided at other locations in the community, such as day care, parks, or other places the child and family spends time.

Early intervention services are available to eligible children from birth until the day before a child turns 3 years old.

Each child in early intervention is offered individualized transition supports and services.  Transition plans are developed beginning six to nine months before a child is discharge from early intervention to allow families time to consider their options and plan ahead for any referrals  for future services, including Early Childhood Special Education, Head Start, day care, or clinic-based therapy.

Eligibility determination, service coordination, assessments and writing the IFSP are provided at no cost to families, but fees are assessed for other IFSP services, based on their ability to pay.

Services cannot be denied to a child if the family has a documented inability to pay.

For more information or to make a referral, contact Sherry Winn, 276-632-7128 ext. 1320.



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