Saturday, June 26, 2010

What happens after I call early intervention?

I remember being very overwhelmed by the early intervention process at first. My son received services starting at 3 months of age. I'm going to share my experiences with EI in Monroe county, NY. Your mileage may vary, but hopefully not too much!

Our original EI referral was made by my son's doctor, but you don't need your doctor to do it for you. Once you call and ask for the evaluation, you are assigned a service coordinator. This is someone who works for the county and will come to your house and explain the process. There are consent forms to sign and you need to choose the agency to provide your evaluation. If you have no idea what agency to choose (as I didn't) they will help you pick one.

The next step is your will receive a call from the agency who you have selected to do the evaluation. They will schedule your appointment and will probably ask you a lot of questions about your child's development. It helps to have your baby book ready so that you can tell them all about baby's milestones.

On the day of your child's evaluation, make sure they are fed and rested. Make sure the TV is off and minimize distractions. If you have other children, try to make sure they are occupied.

There will probably be several therapists who come to evaluate your child. There is usually a special education teacher and a therapist from each discipline that you have a concern about. If you are concerned about your child's talking, you will see a speech therapist. If you have concerns about motor skills, you will see a physical therapist. They will work together to get the evaluation done as efficiently as possible.

The therapists will bring toys and will sit down on the floor with your child and play with them. They will ask them to do certain tasks but it is all done as play to make it as fun as possible for the child. The therapist will probably ask you a lot of questions about your child as well.

At the end of the evaluation, the therapists will give you an idea of whether or not your child has delays. In New York state a child must have a greater than 33% delay in one area or 25% delay in 2 areas to qualify for services. If they do not show delay they will give you some suggestions how to help your child and recommend how often they should be monitored. If they show delay then they will let you know how often they will recommend services.

If your child qualifies for services, the next step is to meet the ongoing service coordinator.

Tomorrow I will talk about her role.

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