Why seek early intervention for your child?
Mar 23, 2018 03:13PM
By Jana Klopsch
By Jessica Ivins | [email protected]
What if your 1 year old isn’t babbling? Or your child is 4 months old and is not reaching for food on the table? Or your child is 1 year old and still crawling?
These are all questions for Discover Develop Impact Vantage or DDI Vantage, a federally funded with state assistance organization that recognizes the importance of early intervention for babies with a developmental delay.
There are 15 statewide Early Intervention programs in Utah. Meghan Boyd is one of the program coordinators at DDI Vantage and said that, “Ages birth to 3 is the time to intervene because children’s brains are still flexible and we can make a difference in a short amount of time.”
The purpose of Early Intervention is to foster the development of children with special needs.
“We have professionals in all your child’s area of need—occupational therapist, physical therapist, special education, nurses—and we serve you and your child in your natural environment,” Boyd said. However, not all children that receive services have a diagnosis. If your child has a delay or disability it doesn’t mean something is wrong. Early intervention simply reduces the odds of having to continue intervention later in life.
Heidi Rogers’ daughter was 1 when she started receiving services. Her pediatrician recommended Early Intervention for Cordelia because she had slightly low muscle tone, commonly called hypotonia. This caused her to be developmentally delayed in her ability to walk at the same time as her peers. Her physical therapist came twice a week.
“I like the ideas they give me that I can use in my home and normal routine. I feel like I am helping her everyday versus going to therapy once in a while,” Rogers said. Cordelia is now 2 years old and made such good progress that she has services only once a month.
Jaida Ivins (the writer’s daughter), received Early Intervention 18 years ago. She struggled with many of her speech sounds. She could have been written off as “just a quiet child.” However, the doctor recommended Early Intervention. The speech therapist came to the house once a week and played games with her. Jaida didn’t know she was working so hard every week. To this day, Jaida, now 19, still remembers her speech therapist, Amy.
Early Intervention does not just support the child, but the family as well. Some children may have negative behaviors that need intervention support. The intervention specialist may be listening to the family and making suggestions for the family routine.
From a syndrome to a developmental delay, with qualifying needs, DDI Vantage will support the child to reach his or her potential. The child and family will still feel at ease as the interventionists work around the family’s schedule. Services are provided in the home.
Who pays for Early Intervention? If you are on Medicaid or Women, Infants and Children program, services are free, everyone else is on a sliding scale based on the number of people in your household and your income. Boyd couldn’t emphasize enough how important these services are to start early. The earlier the better for the child. It reduces the need for intervention later in the child’s school years.
For more information, visit DDIvantage.org or call 801-266-3979