What steps you should take if you are concerned about your infant's development in Kingston, New York?

When an infant has delays in speech, motor abilities or cognitive function, his parent is usually the first to notice a problem.  If your child is delayed sitting up, walking or other motor abilities, for example, you can request that your child be evaluated by New York State's Early Intervention Program ("EIP").

The Early Intervention Program offers a variety of therapeutic and support services to eligible infants and toddlers wtih disabilities and their families, including family education and counseling, speech pathology and audiology, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and nursing services. 

The Early Intervention Program is administered by the New York State Department of Health through the Bureau of Early Intervention.   

  When are infants eligible for the Early Intervention Program?
 
To be eligible for services, children must be under 3 years of age and have a confirmed disability or established developmental delays in one or more of the following area: physical, cognitive, communication, social-emotional and/or adaptive.

As your child changes from toddler to a pre-schooler, he will be transitioning from the Early Intervention Program to other services.  A transition plan must be developed for every child leaving the Early Intervention Program.   

How do you get your child evaluated for developmental delays?

Parents can refer their own children to the Early Intervention Program in New York by contacting the Early Intervention Official in their county.  In New York, all counties are required by the Public Health Law to appoint a public official as their Early Intervention Officer.  The Early Intervention Officer administers the Early Intervention Program locally. You should get to know your Early Intervention Officer. He will be an important person in your child's early intervention experience.

The next step will be to have your child evaluated to find out if your child is eligible for early intervention services.
Every child referred to the Early Intervention Program has the right to a free multidisciplinary evaluation.  The professionals will evaluate your child's overall development.  The multidisciplinary evaluation will be conducted by a team of specialists in speech therapy, occupational and physical therapy, among other areas of development.

What happens after your child's multidisciplinary evaluation?

There are two types of service coordinators in New York State's Early Intervention Program--an initial service coordinator and an ongoing service coordinator.  The initial service coordinator and the ongoing service coordinator are responsible for ensuring that your child receives the therapies and services needed by your child.

The Early Intervention Officer will appoint an Initial Service Coordinator to help develop the Individualized Family Service Plan.  The Individualized Family Service Plan is the written plan for the early intervention services your child and family will receive.  The Individualized Family Service Plan must be reviewed once every six months to ensure that it is still adequate for your child's needs.

The Early Intervention Officer will appoint an ongoing service coordinator, whose job is to make sure you and your child get the services in your Individualized Family Service Plan.        

What you can do if you have questions

For more information about New York's Early Intervention Program, you can contact the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Early Intervention at 518-473-7016 or e-mail [email protected].  If you have questions for me, I always welcome your phone call at 1-866-889-6882 or you can send me an e-mail at [email protected] .  You can get a FREE copy of my book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, by sending me an e-mail with your name and address.