Early Childhood Services: What Parents/Guardians Need to Know

Early Childhood Services

The first five years of a child’s life are often viewed as the most influential when it comes to learning growth and development.

As a parent or guardian, it’s safe to say you’ve heard another individual express concern over their own child’s development, right?

“Sally’s 10-month-old knows her name, but my child doesn’t seem to recognize his name yet.”

Or… “Johnny is 5 months old, and he isn’t rolling over yet. I thought he’d be doing that by now.”  

Naturally, every child will develop at a different pace, but if you have questions about your child’s development, it’s never too early to schedule an appointment with your local pediatrician or early intervention agency to discuss your concerns.

Parents, are you wondering how services work? 

The first step in determining whether or not your child has a development delay is what we mentioned above – reaching out to your child’s pediatrician or to your local early intervention agency. If you don’t know the name of your local agency, you can find it by calling your pediatrician’s office or doing a quick online search. A professional will ask some questions about your concerns. They may have you complete one or more screeners. These screeners will consider your child’s age and will ask questions about what your child is doing or not doing – some examples include babbling, making eye contact, rolling over, crawling, talking, walking, etc. Based on the screener results, your child may qualify for a more in-depth evaluation.

If your child qualifies for services in one or more areas based on the evaluation, a team will then meet with you and your family to create an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), depending on their age, and decide on appropriate services.

Early childhood special education includes birth to three-year-old services and preschool services. Birth-three services are provided by a local agency through your state. Once a child turns three, they will be served by their local school district, starting at the preschool level. Early childhood services will end once the child enters kindergarten and school-aged services begin.

Birth-three services will include an IFSP, which is a formal document outlining any services and supports that will help your child with their development and a list of goals your child’s team will work on. This plan will focus on supporting both your child and family.

Similarly, once your child turns three and begins school-based services, they will receive an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This plan will focus on supporting your child’s progress in their school environment.

For the preschool-age group (from age three until a child begins kindergarten), a team from your local school district will meet with you and your family to create an IEP and decide on appropriate services to help with your child’s development and educational goals.

Keep in mind, services will look different for every child. Some children will have an early childhood classroom placement. Others may receive related services (i.e., speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc.) in the home or school setting without a classroom placement. And, some children will receive a combination of both.

Why is early intervention key?  

Participating in early childhood services can help to reduce a child’s need for services later on in their education. For example, if services are introduced early on, students might need fewer hours of support in elementary, middle and high school, or they may be able to spend more time in general education classrooms.

Where does TeachTown fit in?

TeachTown’s solutions utilize evidence-based best practices derived from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to support the growth and development of students with moderate to severe disabilities, including autism, intellectual disabilities, and developmental delays and disabilities. Our curricula both improve students’ academic outcomes and provide essential life skills that enable students to thrive.

Our proven solutions are created for students ages 18 months through 22 years, offering meaningful support from early childhood through transition services.

Request a solution demo today to see how our solutions can help to measurably improve the academic, behavioral and adaptive functioning of students with moderate to severe disabilities.

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