The first three years of life are important, formative years in maximizing a child’s future potential. If you suspect that an infant or toddler may be experiencing developmental delays such as having trouble with fine motor skills or a lack of speech, it’s important to know that there is help available for families provided by the state. I had taken notice that at around 18 months my own daughter wasn’t speaking more then three words and I was concerned. I spoke with my pediatrician and they had recommended speech therapy through a private practice. After several weeks of going, our speech therapist had mentioned that there was also a government program that we should look into called early intervention. Had she not told me, I would have never known about it.
It’s true that all babies develop at their own pace, so its hard to tell when a child will learn a given skill but Early Intervention can provide you with the information you need and give you a timeline of the changes you can expect. That said, don’t be nervous if your child’s development takes its own course, this is just a guideline to help you decide when you feel it’s the right time to call. Early intervention services are designed to address a problem or delay in development as early as possible. The services are available for infants and toddlers up to age three. Contracted agencies serve as the Early Intervention Program providers (EIPs) and arrange for early intervention practitioners to address the needs of eligible children and their families. Following the evaluation and assessment, an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is developed to describe the services that are needed by the child and family and how they will be implemented.
Services are provided by qualified practitioners in natural environments, settings in which children without special needs ordinarily participate and that are most comfortable and convenient for the family, such as the home, a community agency, or a child care facility. For more information contact Early Intervention System at 888-653-4463. The call is toll-free for New Jersey residents. You can also go to their website https://www.nj.gov/health/fhs/eis/for-families/when/