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Additional Early Services

Public Early Services Programs

Early Head Start and Head Start Programs
Early Head Start programs provide services for children from birth to age three who may be at risk for developmental delays related to low family income. Early Head Start provides structured activities and educational play, health screenings, and family interactions to help children learn and develop skills. They also offer parent classes and check developmental milestones.
Early Head Start programs are federally funded and may also receive some state or local funding. In addition to income eligibility, the programs also have requirements to serve a certain proportion of children with disabilities or identified developmental delays. Some Early Head Start providers may also be the designated Early Intervention providers for the region; this can be confusing at times, but can also be beneficial for all children because it provides an inclusive environment where children can play and learn with same-age peers.
Children who attend Head Start programs participate in school-readiness curriculum that includes literacy, language, science, mathematics, and social-emotional development. They also receive medical and dental services, have healthy meals and snacks, and enjoy playing safely in- and out-of-doors. In addition to the educational services, family involvement is at the core of success. Head Start/Early Head Start families can take part in the classroom as a volunteer, help with classroom projects, and even help develop curriculum.
If the child does not qualify for the Early Intervention program or the Early Head Start/Head Start programs due to income or disability, these programs can refer you to other resources that may be of assistance. You should also ask your child's provider about other recommendations, and call your state family organizations, such as the Parent Training and Information Center, Parent to Parent Programs, Family Voices, or Family to Family Health Information Centers. These organizations are the best place to learn about resources in your community.
Additional Public Programs That Work With Early Intervention Programs
Some states have additional publicly-funded programs that serve young children. The programs will vary by state. For example, in Utah, the Utah Schools for the Deaf & the Blind (USDB) works with Early Intervention programs to serve infants and toddlers in the Parent Infant Program (PIP). The program has expertise in serving children with a combined hearing and vision or deaf-blind impairment. Even though young children may not yet be enrolled in school, the special education director for the Local Education Agency (LEA), often a school district, can help families find additional programs for pre-school age children.

Private Early Services Programs

Many non-profit and for-profit organizations also provide programs for young children. For example, your child may benefit from working with a mental health professional that provides individual or group therapy for children with certain disabilities. Some preschools and child care providers may have expertise in serving children with developmental delays. These groups may be more difficult to find than well-known government and non-profit organizations, but many of them offer excellent care. One way to find these groups is word of mouth: ask other parents of children whose conditions are similar to your child’s, and ask your medical home for recommendations. You will want to research these programs carefully to learn about eligibility criteria, possible fees, and whether insurance will help pay for the services. Some states do not cover services for specific disabilities, such as autism, and parents are required to pay for those services out-of-pocket. Of course, you will also want to ask about staff qualifications and check the references for the organizations you discover.

Pre-School Early Services

First, it is important to know that children with special needs may qualify for special education preschool. These 3- to 5-year olds are entitled to receive these services under the IDEA law if found eligible. If your child doesn’t qualify, or if you simply want to explore what’s out there that might better serve your child, there are other options.
Children with special needs are likely to need extra assistance and more one-on-one education. There are many private preschools that are specifically geared toward children with special needs, but preschool in any setting can help to give your child the structure and skills he or she needs to be ready for kindergarten and succeed in a school environment. You might begin researching area preschools on the internet, by asking other parents, or even by asking your doctor or therapist, but you’ll want to make sure you find what is best for your child’s health and development. Many private schools and public charter schools have a waiting list and are on a lottery system to enroll children from year to year; it’s a good idea to put your family’s name on the list as early as possible if you are interested in a school. You can always decline the slot later if you have found a different option.

Resources

Information & Support

For Professionals

For Parents and Patients

Center for Parent Information and Resources Locator
Parent Centers are for families with a child who has a disability, as well as the professionals who work with them.

Utah Parent Center
A non-profit organization that provides training, information, referral, and assistance to parents of children and youth with all disabilities including physical, mental, hearing, vision, learning, behavioral, and emotional. Staff consists primarily of parents of children and youth with disabilities.

Family Voices
Family Voices is a national, nonprofit, family-led organization promoting quality health care for all children and youth, particularly those with special health care needs. Locate centers by state, F2F HICs (Family-to-Family Health Information Centers).

State Part C Early Intervention Coordinators
Lists state contacts for Early Intervention (Part C) agencies offered by the National Early Childhood Technical Assistance Center (ECTA Center).

Parent to Parent USA
A national nonprofit organization that provides support to state Parent to Parent organizations; provides links to state organizations; provides a Matching Listserv to help organizations connect families to each other; and provides links to other organizations that serve families.

Baby Watch Early Intervention Program (UDOH)
Utah's network of services for children (birth to 3 years) with developmental delays or disabilities; Utah Department of Health, Bureau of Child Development.

First Signs
A national nonprofit organization dedicated to educating parents and pediatric professionals about the early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders. Includes developmental milestones, red flags, and communication needs of parents and physicians.

Utah Association for Infant Mental Health
Hosted by Utah State University, this site includes: an overview of infant mental health; announcements; and tool kits (with documents, presentations, sample agreements, patient education materials).

Bright Futures Initiative (AAP)
A national health promotion initiative dedicated to the principle that every child deserves to be healthy and that optimal health involves a trusting relationship between the health professional, child, family, and community as partners in health practice. Information on healthy emotional, behavioral and cognitive development; American Academy of Pediatrics.

Learn the Signs. Act Early (CDC)
A CDC program to address the importance of early identification of developmental delay and disability. Early intervention (before school age) can have a significant impact on a child’s ability to learn new skills, as well as reduce the need for costly interventions over time; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Utah Health Status: Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)
ACEs include verbal, physical, or sexual abuse, as well as family dysfunction. ACEs have been linked to adverse health outcomes such as violence, obesity, diabetes, cardiopulmonary disease, and other negative physical and mental health behaviors later in life. July 2011, Utah Department of Health

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study (CDC)
One of the largest investigations ever conducted to assess associations between childhood maltreatment and later-life health and well-being; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

State Baby Facts: Utah
A 5-page report on conditions and resources to lessen adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) such as poverty, which can weaken babies' brain development. Resources include federal supports in Utah for health and nutrition, supporting strong families, and positive learning experiences, all of which combat chronic stress. Utah ranks 11th in child well-being. Zero to Three Policy Center, National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families

Talaris Child Development Timeline
An interactive timeline with developmental milestones in different areas including physical, social, learning, and communication.

Transition Tips for Parents of Newborns or Newly Diagnosed Children with Disabilities (PDF Document 483 KB)
This pamphlet developed by Shriners Hospital for Children, also called A New Start, provides information for parents on coping, staying strong, building hope, utilizing resources, and using health care efficiently.

Transition Tips for Parents of Young Children with Disabilities (PDF Document 447 KB)
This pamphlet developed by Shriners Hospital for Children, also called First Steps, provides information for parents on helping a child stay physically and emotionally healthy; beginning to involve a child in her own health care; encouraging independence; and resources and websites.

Healthy Minds, from Zero to Three
Created by the National Center For Infants, Toddlers and Families. Here you will find PDF handouts about development.

IFSP form (Individual Family Service Plan) (PDF Document 224 KB)
Sample Individual Family Service Plan.

Medical Summary (PDF Document 18 KB)
This sample summary or individual health plan provides a way to keep track of personal contact information, diagnoses, problems, medications, immunizations, providers, specialists, medical equipment, and more.

Medical Summary (Word Document 35 KB)

Services

Behavioral Programs

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Departments of Health, Local

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Developmental Evaluation

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Developmental Pediatrics

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Head Start/Early Head Start

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Home Visiting

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Local Support Groups, Disability/Diag

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Local Support Groups, General

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Mental Health Infant/Preschool

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National Support Groups, Disab/Diag

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Preschool/Early Childhood Education

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School Districts

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Special Needs Schools, Other

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Helpful Articles

Reynolds AJ, Temple JA, Robertson DL, Mann EA.
Long-term effects of an early childhood intervention on educational achievement and juvenile arrest: A 15-year follow-up of low-income children in public schools.
JAMA. 2001;285(18):2339-46. PubMed abstract / Full Text

Authors

Authors: Alfred Romeo, RN, PhD - 11/2013
Gina Pola-Money - 5/2013
Lynne M Kerr, MD, PhD - 5/2013
Content Last Updated: 11/2013