"To be perfectly honest, progress is not going to happen in the 60 minutes the therapist spends with your child. Progress happens when you implement their practices at home on a daily basis. They are there to guide you and teach you what to do, but you have the main responsibility to help your child meet his/her goals. "
Choosing an early intervention company can be hard. You weigh the options but truly you do not know which one to choose. This company's name sounds good...this website looks professional...this company has been around the longest....
This is a very important decision, but remember it does not have to be permanent if it doesn't work out. For now, do the best you can with the information you have. Let's talk a little bit about early intervention. What is it really? \What qualifications does an early interventionist have? How will they help my child? What should I expect from him or her? What is my role as a caregiver?
All the details....
The following are the early intervention companies that serve York County:
*If you are in need of early intervention companies in other parts of the state, go to the Babynet website here, and enter the county, Babynet in the first drop down menu, and Early intervention in the second drop down menu.
What is early intervention?
Early intervention therapy is the term used to describe the services and supports that are available to babies and young children with developmental delays and disabilities and their families. After a child qualifies for Babynet services, they will begin early intervention services FIRST. Your chosen company will contact you to set up services. These services will take place in your home. This is the chosen locale for a very simple reason-children are most comfortable in their home environment and will thrive there.
What are qualifications and qualities of an effective early interventionist?
Most early interventionists have at least a bachelors degree in education, social services, or psychology; however, this is not an absolute requirement. What is a requirement is that early interventionists are great communicators, natural with children, and relatable to parents. You would want your therapist to be very organized and also consistent and on-time with visits.
What will the early interventionist do with my child?
1. Your early interventionist will review the Babynet assessments with you and discuss the areas that will be a focus during therapy.
2. Together, you will create what is called an Individual Family Service Plan or an IFSP, for short. This plan will include your child's current levels of development, developmental goals, what other services you may want to pursue for your child (ie: occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy, etc.)and, a plan for when and how frequently your child will receive each service.
3. When early intervention visits are in full swing, these therapy appointments will take place weekly. They can take place in your home or your child's daycare environment. During these visits, your interventionist will work with your child and you on his/her goals. This sounds like it may be exhausting and rigorous for your child, but to be honest, these sessions look a lot like play and your child is sure to love the extra attention and love.
What is my role as a caregiver?
Remember, nothing happens without your consent and approval. You are in complete control of what therapies your child receives and the therapists that serve your child. If you ever feel that a change needs to be made in your child's services, it is your right to communicate that. You are a partner with your child's therapists in helping your child reach his/her goals. I remember being totally in the dark during my child's first early intervention visit. I asked the therapist, "am I supposed to stay or go? Do I interact or just observe?" I learned through my experience that being present in your child's therapy appointments, as much as possible, is going to serve your child's best interests. I know that it is not always possible to physically be there. If you are unable to attend the sessions, ask your therapist for a copy of the visit summary or to give you a quick call when the session is over to fill you in. To be perfectly honest, progress is not going to happen in the 60 minutes the therapist spends with your child. Progress happens when you implement their practices at home on a daily basis. They are there to guide you and teach you what to do, but you have the main responsibility to help your child meet his/her goals.
What else can my early interventionist help me with?
They are there to help support YOU, too. They are your guide through the paperwork and "legal mumbo jumbo" of the Babynet system. They will keep all of your child's paperwork in order and help you complete any necessary additional paperwork for other resources available through the Babynet system.
How long will my child receive these services?
Early intervention services are available until your child's third birthday. Some children are eligible for extensions of these services past their third birthday, so that is something that can be discussed with your interventionist.
Is there a downfall to receiving these services?
There is no downfall to these services. They are only in place to help your child and give your child even more people to support them. Many parents worry that receiving these services will place a "label" on your child or that these services will "follow" your child into the school system. No information about these services is shared with the school system unless you want them to be.
I know this is so much information and probably quite overwhelming, but know that this is only the first step in a journey you will never regret starting. Early intervention is key to helping your child make progress and these interventionists are really, special people who will be amazing partners with you on this journey.
Remember, I get it, I'VE BEEN THERE, I've lived this journey. Reach out-I am here to help you along the way-
With my sincerest love and support, Anna