The Importance of Early Identification, Referral and Services

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Columns, Kids & Family

The Importance of Early Identification, Referral and Services

By Anne E. Mead, Ed. D.

Are you concerned about your child’s growth and development? Do you see your child lagging behind children of a similar age at birthday parties or at the park? Is your child 10 months old and not crawling or picking up finger foods or 18 months old and not walking? Some children begin talking right after their first birthday while others start to use words around two years old. No two children develop at exactly the same rate, even within the same family. However, there are times when you might question your child’s growth and development. There are many internet sites that can provide you with information. For example, you can visit http://www.earlystagesdc.org/files/MILESTONES%20English%20FINAL_0.pdf for English and Spanish or http://pathways.org/print/ for Portuguese.

When parents exhibit concerns about their children’s development, there are many resources to help. A trip to the child’s doctor is always advised to rule out any medical issues. For example, children who are not talking might be diagnosed with fluid in their ears. Due to the fluid, they may not hear sounds well enough to pronounce them clearly. Once any medical concerns are ruled out, parents can contact the Connecticut Birth to Three Program (B23) at 1-800-505-7000 or http://www.birth23.org/.

When you call the B23 Program, they ask questions about your child’s development and send you an Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) for you to answer questions about your child and return the form to them. The Danbury Family Learning Center can help you fill out the form (203-797-4734) and help you learn more about the services of B23 providers, by attending their free playgroups. For older children, ages 3-5, contact your local school district and you will be directed to the preschool intervention department for a screening.

Many times, parents will ask: are early interventions necessary and why not wait until the child is three or five? Research shows that during the first three years of life, brain cells grow the most. Therefore, it is important that children be given all the advantages and support they need for optimal growth!! Birth to three providers (B23) can help make that happen. The B23 provider works confidentially with the family by designing an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP) that describes the services available. Through interventions that are conducted at the child’s home or at childcare, many children catch up to their typical peers, while other children transition to a 3-5 program and continue services. If your child is older than three, the Danbury Early Preschool Program at 203-797-4990 can help.

For more information to talk to through this process, feel free to contact the B23 program or call me at 203-830-6508.

Anne E. Mead, Ed. D., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or meadan@danbury.k12.ct.us.

 

 

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September 20, 2018

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